In the northern Chinese city of Manzhouli, they say there is an elephant that simply sits and ignores the world. Manzhouli becomes an obsession for the protagonists of this film, a longed-for escape from the downward spiral in which they find themselves. Among them is schoolboy Bu, on the run after pushing Shuai down the stairs, who was bullying him previously. Bu's classmate Ling has run away from her mother and fallen for the charms of her teacher. Shuai's older brother Cheng feels responsible for the suicide of a friend. And finally, along with many other characters whose fates are inextricably bound together, there's Mr. Wang, a sprightly pensioner whose son wants to offload him onto a home. In virtuoso visual compositions, the film tells the story of one single suspenseful day from dawn to dusk, when the train to Manzhouli is set to depart.
After finishing the movie, Hu Bo tragically committed suicide in October 2017 at the age of 29. This makes "An Elephant Sitting Still" the only feature film he directed in his lifetime. See more »
When Webb went taking the spare key behind his grandmother's house, a piece of snow fell on the lens. See more »
He told me the other day. There is an elephant in Manzhouli. It sits there all day long. Perhaps some people keep stabbing it with forks. Or maybe it just enjoys sitting there. I don't know.
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This is not just a movie
I cannot comprehend how this movie can be so beautifully shot, staged and acted, while on the other hand depicting the ugliest but so true to life experiences a human could ever possibly encounter.
Not a single spark of hope ever comes up during the entire film, every character experiences his own version of hell while trying to find meaning in their appently meaningless lifes. Nobody smiles, everyone wears a thick winter coat.. even inside as if they need an extra shell to protect them from other humans. And yet, after four hours you are left with the urge to tell the world that there is still something worth living for. This movie is a plea for more kindness and humanity, although it is almost never showing either of them itself.
A movie has never affected me so deeply like this one. I will never forget this experience and I am sorry for the directors relatives.. they, the Chinese Cinema and we all have lost a true filmmaking genius.
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