IMDb > The World (2004)
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The World (2004) More at IMDbPro »Shijie (original title)


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Down 17% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
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Release Date:
18 March 2005 (Canada) See more »
An exploration on the impact of urbanization and globalization on a traditional culture. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
6 wins & 9 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Big budget and glossy special effects See more (29 total) »


  (in credits order)

Tao Zhao ... Tao
Taishen Cheng ... 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 Han ... Sanming
Juan Iu ... Yanqing
Xiaodong Liu ... Karaoke singer
Xiaoshuai Wang

Directed by
Zhangke Jia 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Zhangke Jia 

Produced by
Keung Chow .... producer
Shôzô Ichiyama .... producer (as Shozo Ichiyama)
Masayuki Mori .... executive producer
Hengameh Panahi .... producer
Zhong-lun Ren .... producer
Tianyan Wang .... supervising producer
Takio Yoshida .... producer
Nelson Lik-wai Yu .... associate producer (as Yu Lik Wai)
Original Music by
Giong Lim 
Cinematography by
Nelson Lik-wai Yu 
Film Editing by
Jinlei Kong  (as Jing Lei Kong)
Production Design by
Li-zhong Wu 
Makeup Department
Yang Yuan Zhen .... hair stylist
Production Management
Elise Bastoul .... post-production supervisor
Sound Department
Laurent Bailly .... sound mixer
Si Guo Li .... boom operator
Yang Zhang .... sound
Camera and Electrical Department
Meng Da Yu .... grip
Ricky Wong .... still photographer
Editorial Department
Aure Gelis .... post-production assistant
Christophe Legendre .... grader
Location Management
Pan Jian Lin .... location manager
Other crew
Christian Dines .... restoration (uncredited)
Mathilde Incerti .... press attache

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Shijie" - China (original title)
"World" - USA (festival title)
See more »
Italy:140 min | USA:143 min | Argentina:143 min (Buenos Aires Festival Internacional de Cine Independiente) | 105 min (mainland china)
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Visa d'exploitation en France : # 111851.See more »
Tao:Anyone have a Band-Aid?See more »
Movie Connections:
References Titanic (1997)See more »


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21 out of 24 people found the following review useful.
Big budget and glossy special effects, 4 October 2004
Author: Howard Schumann from Vancouver, B.C.

Jia Zhangke's The World, his first state supported film, continues his look at the disillusionment of Chinese youth with Western-style globalization but shifts the setting from a rural to an urban environment. Young people work at Beijing's 114-acre "World Park", a sprawling Chinese Disneyland that displays scale models of famous landmarks such as The Eiffel Tower, The Pyramids of Egypt, The Leaning Tower of Pisa, The Taj Mahal, and The Vatican. For most of the low-paid employees, however, it is the closest they will ever come to seeing the world. Jointly produced by the Shanghai Film Group Corporation and Hong Kong's Xinghui Production Company, The World, unlike his previous independent work (Unknown Pleasures, Platform), has a big budget, glossy special effects, animation sequences, colorfully costumed song and dance routines, and uncharacteristic melodramatic plot contrivances.

The film's main protagonists are young Chinese who have come to the city from rural areas to find work at the theme park and come in contact with migrants, petty criminals, and other lowlife characters who seem to thrive in this consumer-centered environment. The plot consists of the turbulent love affair between a dancer named Tao (Zhao Tao) who performs in lavish shows at the park and a security guard named Taisheng (Chen Taisheng) who has trouble remaining faithful to her. Zhao Tao, who has appeared in other Jia films, is sparkling in her role as the dancer whose horizons become more and more constricted. When she tells him, 'You're my whole life.' he replies, 'You can't count on anyone these days. Don't think so much of me.' As critic David Walsh points out, "all the young people have great trouble expressing their emotions to one another; they prefer cell-phones and text messages. The picture of a terribly repressed and repressive society, with vast problems and contradictions, begins to emerge".

The employees live in overcrowded dorms or sleazy hotels and a group of Russian performers have their passports taken away when they arrive and some are forced to become prostitutes. In a heartbreaking sequence, Tao's brother Erxiao is arrested by the police for petty theft, and his brother, a construction worker known as "little sister", experiences a distressing industrial accident. Jia presents the world in small episodes, similar he says to the "way you use a computer-you click here, you click there, each time leading you to another location." The vignettes, however, did not come together for me as a totally satisfying experience and the animation effects seemed showy. The World has stunning visuals and relevant social commentary and I'm happy to see Jia achieve a wider audience by working through the system, but by the end of The World, I felt that the sharp edge of his previous films had been lost.

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