A town in Fengjie county is gradually being demolished and flooded to make way for the Three Gorges Dam. A man and woman visit the town to locate their estranged spouses, and become witness to the societal changes.
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Little pocket thief Wu never got away from the streets like his friends did. He realises that he is alone, as his old buddy doesn't invite him for his wedding. When he falls in love with a ... See full summary »
China's greatest living filmmaker Jia Zhangke (Platform, The World) travels with acclaimed painter Liu Xiaodong from China to Thailand as they meet everyday workers in the throes of social ... See full summary »
A cook living in Beijing, whose employment is coming to an end, plans to return home to his rural village for the New Year. He approaches several of his old friends, also working in the ... See full summary »
"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
How can you truly show disconnection. I think I have truly seen a master in action with Shijie, a film that takes place in a world theme park (this place does really exist) in China.
Zhang Ke Jia is a masterful director. His use of colour and character direction is unreal. One of the things he uses to great effect are arches and hallways. Characters appear in them, or look out of them in what is some of the most visual photography I have ever witnessed. There is also a great conversation scene between two characters who don't share the same language, and the use of reflected light that is truly remarkable, make sure to watch for this scene. But it doesn't end there.
Zhang also does something so miraculous that I thought would be impossible. He borrows heavily from Ozu, particularly a scene that is reminiscent of Tokyo Story and makes something that is uniquely his own.
The basic synopsis of "The World", is of the lives of the workers in the theme park. Some romances develop, a foreign Russian worker Anna is introduced to the group even though she and another Chinese girl Tao don't share the same language. Everyday trials and tribulations happen for these young adults who are trying to work in the 'New China'.
Somehow though with all the issues involved, rural people coming into the cities, technological communication, the erosion of China's agrarian past, the fakeness of place, the exploitation of workers and lead up to prostitution, the camaraderie of friends, the cheapness of life.. somehow all of these themes are jumbled into a glorious presentation that you can't take your eyes off of.
The film is beyond surreal, its real setting makes it all more spectacular and that more effective. I had a hard time separating the actors from the characters, at times I thought I was watching a documentary and I prayed or hoped for someone to do well and be happy and find themselves thinking that these were real people in harsh sometimes difficult situations. "The World" has this effect on you, you can't begin to believe the beauty and harshness it shows, and it tricks you in the most crafty way.
The World is a truly fantastic small place in more ways than one...
Rating 9 out of 10
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