An elephant sitting still
In the north of China, a huge city, and yet empty as any other. Under perpetual construction, dipped into fog, it only seems to exist so as to trap its inhabitants uncomfortably surviving between its walls. One morning, a minor altercation in school degenerates, causing a shock between four destinies who had done nothing, up to that point, but ignore each other. Everyone’s shell is going to break under the weight of shame and fear. For anyone gradually haunted by death, the city of Manzhouli – where they say that an elephant would simply remain seated looking at the world surrounding him with contempt – becomes an obsession. If An Elephant Sitting Still is a choral film, the song it sings, devoid of any subtlety, is the darkest melancholy tune of contemporary China. As another ordinary day goes by stretching towards the infinite, Hu Bo discloses the ubiquity of a layered violence overfed with hopes so as to subjugate them even more. A hypnotic ballad, at times tinged with rock, the An Elephant Sitting Still experience is so stifling that we become more fascinated with it. Over time, along the rubble, in the shadow of silences, we find ourselves by the actors’ sides, prisoners of a space with no escape, so far away yet terribly close at once. An Elephant Sitting Still is young writer Hu Bo’s only feature-length film, shot before he committed suicide in October 2017. (VP)
Original version : Chinese.
Subtitles : French, English.
Scenario : Hu Bo.
Picture : Chao Fan.
Editing : Hu Bo.
Sound : Yiming Ren.
With : Yu Zhang, Yuchang Peng, Yuwen Wang, Congxi Liu.
Distribution : Capricci (Julien Rejl).
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