Da xiang xi di er zuo (2018) is a Mandarin movie. Bo Hu has directed this movie. Yu Zhang,Yuchang Peng,Uvin Wang,Zi Xi are the starring of this movie. It was released in 2018. Da xiang xi di er zuo (2018) is considered one of the best Drama movie in India and around the world.
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.
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Few debuts are this good. Throughout four hours, Hu Bei creates an overwhelminly human and sensitive film, creating characters to which we deeply sympathise and connect with. The more the film moves long, the more impactful it becomes, and soon enough even the smallest actions, the most simple scenes become huge, due to the sheer emotional investment the spectator has. This works mostly for these reasons: Bei's camera, which is always close to the characters, following them in long, some times astonishing shots; the actors, all of them astounding; the long running time, which gives time not just to explore each character, but also for the viewer to just spend time with these people, who we love to care about so deeply. Melancholic but not sad, deeply moving but never sentimental, An Elephant Sitting Still doesn't feel bigger than life: it feels like life, period. To call it a masterpiece would be an understatement.
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.
"An Elephant Sitting Still" is a hard film to think about, let alone write about. I went in expecting to see something depressing yet captivating and cathartic. The experience was in reality something far harder to engage with. Apart from the occasional musical relief, it is deathly quiet. The characters rarely smile, and even when they do it's only to laugh at the almost poetic awfulness of their predicaments. They are usually aggressive to each other, but rarely shout. Even when something bad happens, there is no melodramatic outcry; people simply carry on as if nothing matters. And all of this is enveloped, with no respite, in a wasteland that offers no visual relief. This film is utterly depressing to watch, not in a positive way but because it feels, until close to the end, like the product of someone with a completely nihilistic worldview. The visuals only serve to reinforce the film's gloominess. The tone can be described as a dull grey, a grey you see everywhere. In the dilapidated buildings, in the roads, in the sky, in the camera's filter... and in the people. It shows, I suppose, just how much an environment can affect behaviour. The characters in the film have no hope (aside from their desire to escape) and it's no wonder given the drab skyline. There is a stark beauty in a showdown scene near the end of the film that takes place by a railway line. The whole scene is brilliantly shot and great from a character perspective too. As the camera moves to show the landscape, I'm struck with one of the few truly great visual moments of the film. People's troubles are compounded by the way they treat each other, always shouting, always assuming the worst of each other whether it's the bully who thinks a colleague has stolen his phone or a boy's own family being suspicious of him. You can't help but think that if people helped each other a bit more they might end up a little bit happier. It's also hard not to notice how much people's lives are dictated by money. Whether it's a broken desk, a cue or a dead dog, money is what people assume others want. Not an apology, or an act of kindness, but money. This I think illustrates Hu Bo's cynicism about society - people go on living but they don't live for anything. They don't want to know that an act of kindness can be worth more than Yuan. One way to read Elephant is as a commentary on the urban decay specific to China, but you can also see it as existential. If it is existential rather than relating specifically to local problems, then it is even more depressing as it seems as if Hu Bo had nothing optimistic to say about our existence at all. If the camera is a sort of character, what that character feels is an emptiness as strong as the characters themselves. And this is where my major problem with Elephant lies. If you want to show something about your characters, you shouldn't give the camera the same personality as your characters. But that is exactly what Hu Bo does, infusing it with the same nihilism as he infuses his characters. It means the impression of this film is rather one-note. Yes, it has lots to say, but despite seeming to point out the characters' problems are often a result of their own outlook, for most of the duration of the film Hu Bo adopts the same nihilistic outlook as his characters. The lack of nuance extends to some of the scenes most intended to be shocking. There is a clear intention to get across the hopelessness and unkindness of its characters but the hilariously unnuanced way the script is written creates the opposite feeling of the viewer to that which is intended. This is most obvious during a mother-daughter argument that turns into a hilariously overplayed slurry of insults. It's not distressing to watch; it's cringeworthy! Other times, people cry about how awful the world is and I find myself wondering if Hu Bo couldn't have been a bit more subtle in conveying his existential ideas. Every character is the same, and once you understand them there isn't that much more to learn, certainly not enough to justify the four-hour runtime. Throughout the film, the performances don't add any more nuance to the characterisation. If it wasn't for the fact that they looked different, I wouldn't be able to tell the characters apart by their acting, dialogue or behaviour. There is some positivity to be gleaned from this film if you look for it. Although there are things the characters endure that they cannot change, the way they treat each other makes their suffering worse. If they treated each other a little bit better, they might all be a bit happier. A discussion near the end, in which someone reveals that wherever you go, it doesn't get any better, hints at that the problem, ultimately, is with you. Most optimistic in my eyes is the final shot, seeing the characters get off the bus and kick a ball around. It feels like a hint that they may finally have realised that fact of life. Ultimately though, the journey to that conclusion is a clunky one. Throughout the four-hour film there is no hint of the tonal swerve until the final twenty minutes. Thus it's a very imperfect film, even if it is a heartfelt one. I would have loved to see where Hu Bo would go from here as he displayed some great filmmaking, but unfortunately we won't ever know.
An Elephant Sitting Still, a 2018 Chinese film by Hu Bo, just under 4 hours long, enters the lives of four people and those who impact them. First we have a high school student, Wei Bu. His parents constantly berate him, telling him he should go live with his grandma - he would, but her apartment has no heat. His friend has crossed the school bully, so Wei Bu backs him up, believing he didn't steal the bigger boy's cellphone. They meet in a stairwell to have it out, and the bully attacks Wei Bu for interfering. In a shoving match, the bully falls down the cement stairs, badly injured. The next character, Yu Cheng, older brother of the bully, listens to his best friend's story about an elephant at the circus in Manjhouli: the elephant just sits there, even if people stab it with forks. Then Yu Cheng is caught sleeping with the friend's wife, but his friend rather than attacking him leaps from the high apartment window to his death. It's not Yu Cheng's fault - but if he hadn't been in his friend's girl's bedroom, it wouldn't have happened. Wei Bu likes a girl, Huang Ling, but she rebuffs him - she's having a soon-to-be-revealed affair with the married Vice Dean at their high school. This man tells Wei Bu that their school, the worst in the city, is closing. "What will we do?" Wei Bu asks. "You'll be street vendors," says the Vice Dean, who then goes on to talk about the larger office he's looking forward to in the school he'll be transferred to. Huang Ling lives with her single mother, who drinks, complains, and lies around while the toilet overflows. Their hatred is mutual. And last, we have Wang Jin, living with his daughter, her husband, and their young daughter. They want to move to another district for its better school, but apartments there are smaller and more expensive, so they'd like Grandpa to move to the nursing home. He tells them the place won't allow dogs, and besides, they're all living in his apartment. But he can see what's coming. Everyone in this film is angry - with each other, with their lives - and most of them blame someone else for their unhappiness. Love and affection are in very short supply in this industrial city where we only catch rare glimpses of anything not man-made - a river valley one can look down on from a high overpass, a clump of weeds. And the built world is unattractive - rubble outside buildings, an abundance of concrete and rusty iron. Misfortune caroms like a billiard ball, striking one person who strikes another who strikes a third - the only ones able to rise above the attack-and-blame cycle are those who have their thoughts on other things - Wei Bu escapes murder by telling Yu Cheng, who feels duty-bound to avenge his "piece of garbage" brother's death, about wanting to go to Manjhouli to see the elephant sitting still. That's really what Yu Cheng wants too - he despises his own thug life, but sees no alternative. As we spend hours with these characters, their families, their enemies, we get to know each as an individual - whatever they do, harmless or evil, they are aware of it, and aware too of a sense of being trapped. And in the end, there is an epiphany, or an elephant. If you're one of those rare filmgoers who looks forward to spending four hours with a story, this one's for you! It won Best Feature Award at the Berlin Film Festival, so you might get a chance - at a film festival. Keep your eye out for it.
There are several reasons why you will not forget this film if you have had the patience to sit through the 4 hours of its slow running time. One of them will be to wonder if the long film was worth your while. The director Bo Hu only made this feature film in his entire life before he committed suicide at age 29. The film is based on his book that he wrote under a pen-name. With a book and a feature film to his credit, Bo Hu evidently still felt trapped. All the characters are innocent but nihilistic to the core caught within China's social "no-win" trap if you are not rich or have political connections. Nietzsche would have smiled at this film. There is no way out. Yet they hope optimistically for a better life. It is a curious film that ends up with stupid violent scenes as some recent award-winning films from China have. Nothing positive to take away here after 4 hours. The concept of the elephant sitting still is possibly positive, which is why four adults want to metaphorically see it. One positive takeaway in the indirect commentary on China today, rarely discussed in the media.