An Elephant Sitting Still (original title: 大象席地而坐)
by Hu Bo
2018, China, 234 minutes, Mandarin with English subtitles
Please note, this screening starts one hour earlier than usual because of its running time (4 hours)
An Elephant Sitting Still intertwines the lives of four characters in a bleak town, depicting their individual struggles, searches for purpose, and fleeting connections amid societal despair. Yu Cheng, a tormented student, battles both bullies at school and a troubled home life. Wei Bu, entangled in an unintended incident, embarks on a journey with an unknown destination. Huang Ling seeks escape from an abusive affair, while Wang Jin, an elderly man, pursues tranquility by visiting a contemplative elephant in Manzhouli.
Hu Bo (1988-2017) was a Chinese novelist and filmmaker known for his profound exploration of human emotions and societal issues. Tragically, he took his own life shortly after completing "An Elephant Sitting Still," which became his first and only feature film. Despite its initial commercial challenges, the film gained international acclaim for its contemplative pace, evocative cinematography, and poignant portrayal of human suffering.
An Elephant Sitting Still is the first part of OS MUTANTES, a new monthly screening series at WORM. Inspired by Theresa Villaverde’s film of the same name, we will use the concept of the mutant as a way to reframe growing up as a transformative process, rather than the typical "coming of age" narrative that often feels focused on individual success and self-improvement. The series will include films by Catharine Breillat, Lucrecia Martel, Paul B. Preciado, Gregg Araki, and many others.