An Elephant Sitting Still
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An Elephant Sitting Still

The trick to getting the most out of the Berlin Film Festival is to dig deep into its stupendous program spanning 400 films across a multitude of sidebars. Premiering in the Forum section which traditionally favors more experimental/radical forms of filmmaking, Chinese writer/director Bo Hu’s feature debut An Elephant Sitting Still is the work of raw, intimidating talent driven by a creative fury that would likely daunt most competition titles. Unmissable for anyone craving the gritty realism and independent spirit of pre-00’s Chinese cinema. Fair warning: this is decidedly not the feel-good movie of the year.

It all begins on an overcast morning in a nondescript city. People young and old are waking up to a new day, although it doesn’t seem like this is something any of them particularly looks forward to. At first we don’t know their names or how they relate to one another, but as the beautifully-edited first hour unfolds, the stories of Yu Cheng (Yu Zhang), a local thug having an affair with his best friend’s girl, Wei Bu (Yuchang Peng), a 17-year-old boy who plans to stand up for himself and his buddy against the school bully, Huang Ling (Yuwen Wang), Wei’s fellow high schooler who’s secretly seeing the deputy dean, and Lao Jin (Congxi Li), a retiree dreading the prospect of being sent away to a senior home by his own son, branch out and eventually connect in surprising, regrettable ways.

Views: 625

Genre: Drama

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Duration: 230 min

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IMDb: 7.9

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An Elephant Sitting Still