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An Elephant Sitting Still

Hu Bo
Da xiang xi di er zuo
China 2018 / 230’
Awarded film screening

Twenty-nine-year-old Bo Hu took his own life in October 2017, four months before the world premiere of his debut film at the Berlinale. In the style of film noir, the Chinese director's work is driven by a fury and captured with a flourish, tracing a panorama of interpersonal and class relations characterized by widespread moral corruption. In a story played out over a single day, a suicide and an incident at a school (one student pushes another student who had been mocking him down the stairs) leads to a series of tragic events. The unfolding spiral of violence pulls in one protagonist after another in this masterfully constructed, multithreaded story: they include a man who feels guilty about a friend's suicide, a girl fighting with her mother, a frightened boy and an old man whose son wants to move out of their cramped house. Everyone fantasizes about escaping from the city, and this desire is embodied by a mythical elephant from the city of Manzhouli: indifferent like a sort of Buddha, it watches the cruelty that people inflict upon one another completely unmoved. Hu Bo provides an extremely pessimistic diagnosis about his country and creates one of the most moving images of lost youth that cinema has ever seen.

Małgorzata Sadowska

awards

Berlin IFF 2018 - FIPRESCI Award; Best First Feature Award - Special Mention; Hong Kong IFF 2018 - Audience Choice Award

Hu Bo

Hu Bo (1988-2017) was a director and screenwriter and a student in the Directing Department at the Beijing Film Academy (where he worked under the tutelage of Béla Tarr, among others). An Elephant Sitting Still was his only film.

Filmography

2014 Distant Father (short)

2014 Fleeing by Night (short)

2018 Siedzący słoń / Da xiang xi di er zuo / An Elephant Sitting Still

Cast & Crew

director Hu Bo
screenplay Hu Bo
cinematography Fan Chao
editing Hu Bo
music Hua Lun
cast Zhang Yu, Peng Yuchang, Wang Yuwen, Liu Congxi
producer Liu Xuan
production Dongchun Films
sales Rediance
language Mandarin
colouration colour