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230 min. Mandarin.

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.
This electrifying directorial debut from Hu Bo, whose novels already caused a sensation in China, is a four-hour portrait of a society of egoists. Tragically, it will also be the final chapter in his legacy. On October 12, 2017, the artist took his own life at age 29. (Christoph Terhechte)

Hu Bo was born in 1988 in Jinan, Shangdong, China, He studied Film Directing at the Beijing Film Academy. Following two short films, An Elephant Sitting Still was his first feature-length film. Hu Bo took his own life in October 2017.


‘He thought that in the beauty of the world were hid a secret. He thought that the world’s heart beat at some terrible cost and that the world’s pain and its beauty moved in a relationship of diverging equity and that in this headlong deficit the blood of multitudes might ultimately be exacted for the vision of a single flower.’ A quote from Cormac McCarthy’s novel “All the Pretty Horses” (1992), it is also the subject of this film. It’s increasingly hard for us to have faith even in the tiniest of things and this frustration marks today’s society. AN ELEPHANT SITTING STILL builds up personal myths in between daily routines. Everyone loses his or her most treasured thing in the end. (Hu Bo)

Production company Dongchun Films Co., Ltd (Beijing, People’s Republic of China). Written and directed by Hu Bo. Director of photography Fan Chao. Editing Hu Bo. Sound design Bai Ruizhou. Production design Xie Lija. With Zhang Yu (Yucheng), Peng Yuchang (Weibu), Wang Yuwen (Huangling), Liu Congxi (Laojin).

World sales Rediance


2014: Distant Father (22 min.), Fleeing by Night (30 min.). 2018: An Elephant Sitting Still.

Funded by:

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