An Elephant Sitting Still
Late director Hu Bo’s devastating only feature charts four characters whose provincial fatalism is shaken by a strange, mythical elephant.
Singapore PremiereChina / 2018 / 234 MIN / Mandarin / NC16: Some Coarse Language
The titular pachyderm of An Elephant Sitting Still is a zoo animal that supposedly rejects its own existence by entering a catatonic state. The film’s four protagonists, living in a northern Chinese city suffering from post-industrial decay, are connected by their fixation on this creature. The intersecting lives in question belong to: a man who witnesses his best friend’s suicide, a young man seeking escape from abuse both at home and at school, a girl having an affair with her married vice principal, and a pensioner resigned to entering a nursing home.
Punctuated by moments of black humour throughout its four-hour runtime, the film presents an honest snapshot of the lives of those forgotten by a nation’s uneven development.
Cast & Credits
An alumnus of Beijing Film Academy, Chinese filmmaker Hu Bo wrote novels and directed short films before making his debut feature, An Elephant Sitting Still, which premiered at the 68th Berlin International Film Festival. In 2017, the 29-year-old Hu took his own life; the film was finished posthumously.
Zhang Yu, Peng Yuchang, Wang Yuwen
*FIPRESCI Prize Winner, Berlin Film Festival 2018
*Official Selection, San Sebastian Film Festival 2018
*Official Selection, Toronto Film Festival 2018
*Official Selection, Karlovy Vary Film Festival 2018
*Official Selection, Locarno International Film Festival 2018
*Audience Choice Award, Hong Kong International Film Festival 2018
*Official Selection, Edinburgh International Film Festival 2018
*Official Selection, New Horizon International Film Festival 2018