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The World (2004)
"Shijie" (original title)

 -  Drama  -  15 April 2005 (China)
7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 2,025 users   Metascore: 81/100
Reviews: 29 user | 62 critic | 23 from Metacritic.com

An exploration on the impact of urbanization and globalization on a traditional culture.

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Tao
Taisheng Chen ...
Taisheng
Jue Jing ...
Wei
Zhong-wei Jiang ...
Niu
Yiqun Huang ...
Qun
Hongwei Wang ...
Sanlai
Jing Dong Liang ...
Tao's ex-boyfriend
Shuai Ji ...
Erxiao
Wan Xiang ...
Youyou
Alla Shcherbakova ...
Anna
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
...
Sanming
Juan Iu ...
Yanqing
Xiaodong Liu ...
Karaoke singer
Xiaoshuai Wang
Edit

Storyline

"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 Guy Bellinger

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

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Details

Country:

| |

Language:

| |

Release Date:

15 April 2005 (China)  »

Also Known As:

The World  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$6,776 (USA) (1 July 2005)

Gross:

$63,662 (USA) (21 October 2005)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(Buenos Aires Festival Internacional de Cine Independiente) | (theatrical)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Visa d'exploitation en France : # 111851. See more »

Quotes

wedding guests: [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!
See more »

Connections

References Titanic (1997) See more »

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User Reviews

 
See the world in a day.
6 May 2005 | by (Toronto) – See all my reviews

"The World" is set in the tacky eponymous Beijing theme park and details the lives of the alienated young workers who are spiritually and physically trapped there. It's a subtle, delicate, yet powerful film with a directing style that can best described as artfully unobtrusive. The young director/writer is a master of composition, camera movement and sound. Some of the scenes unspool without editing for several minutes, the camera mostly still, sometimes moving with the action but never on the whim of the filmmaker. Sound and dialogue occur off-screen in a way that reminds one of the great Japanese director Ozu. (Indeed, one of the film's inter-titled chapters is called "Tokyo Story".

One of the best examples of this style is a grimy hotel room scene between the lead couple in which very little happens--an attempted seduction, but no sex--that is so authentic it feels almost voyeuristic to watch. In another scene, a father counts and pockets four stacks of money bestowed to him by the authorities for the accidental death of his son, his face an expressionless mask that hides more pain than could ever be shown. In an opening scene the camera tracks a female dancer running through a theatre backstage, pleading for a band aid she will never get--thus slyly presaging the untreatable tragedies that will eventually unfold.

The central characters are so alone, alienated and unable to communicate in any meaningful way--much of the dialogue is spoken into the ubiquitous cellphones--that the closest any two people come together are two woman--one Chinese, the other Russian--who don't speak a word of each other's language.

This is the best kind of social commentary a film can offer, images that show and don't tell. At times it feels plodding--especially the last half hour--some of the characters could use more development, and the animated cellphone sequences seem unnecessary and distracting. But the depiction of contemporary urban China's deepening social malaise--the result of far too rapid urbanization and unchecked Westernization--is troubling enough to make one fear the country's--and the world's--future.


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