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"The World" is a theme park on the outskirts of Beijing, sixteen kilometers from the Chinese capital, designed around scaled representations of the world's famous landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower or the Leaning Tower of Pisa.The site is seen here not from the visitors' point of view but through the eyes of a few of its staff, lonely people, communicating poorly, a bit disillusioned with life, glittering for the tourists but dull and restricted as far as they are concerned. We meet, among others, pretty young dancer Tao and Taisheng, a security guard who is fond of her but not of personal commitment... Written by
Visa d'exploitation en France : # 111851. See more »
[wedding guests propose a toast]
In honor of? History's great beauties... Yang Guifei, Pan Jinlian, Marilyn Monroe, Madonna! and all the beauties! For which cause? World peace, women's rights and faces without freckles!
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While fifth generation Chinese directors Zhang Yimou succumbed to crowd pleasing, turning out cheap, hollow, showy crap like Flying Dagger, sixth generation Jia Zhangke continues to remain faithful to making movies that reflect the sometimes painful metamorphosis the Chinese populace is going through at the crossroad of modernization. The World is such a recent attempt, although there are comments that this movie has already treaded across the line of commercialism.
"The World" here is a miniature world theme park which might be a novelty to Beijing but not the modernized parts of the world (there was one en route from Toronto to Niagara Falls over three decades ago, albeit at a smaller scale). The story evolves around dancer Xiao Tao (ZHAO Tao) and her boyfriend Tiasheng (CHEN Tiasheng). (While the actor conveniently adopted his real name for the character, Tao in the movie means "peach" while Tao in the actress means "waves", two entirely different words). Through the daily lives in the park (part of which is still under construction) and visits from various friends and relatives of the two main characters, we are exposed to how people interact, think, perceive, love, and more. Many of the sequences and dialogue are so realistic and real that you would wonder if these are simply people in the street asked by director Jia to stand in front of the camera (but some distance away) and converse the way they normally do.
The storytelling is straightforward and efficient, sometimes to the point of being skeletal. The camera is objective, impassionate and some may even call it dull. As if to make up for it, director Jia interspersed the script with animations, sometimes to mark off short episodes, each separately titled.
Not for the general audience, The World has an air of the rough-diamond kind of crudeness that makes it quite appealing to seekers of less main-stream cinemas. I do find it a little too long, even when I watched a two-hour version rather than the 140 minute version billed in the IMDb listing.
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