An Elephant Sitting Still (Da xiang xi di er zuo) (2018)
Critic Reviews for An Elephant Sitting Still (Da xiang xi di er zuo)
Long and a bit unwieldy, and self-consciously philosophical in parts, yes, but Hu's first (and sadly last) feature weaves together its narrative threads clearly and sturdily.
Assembles its parts in such an assured and astute way that changing even one element seems unthinkable.
This is a sprawling but strangely hardscrabble epic that has a very digital look. Nevertheless, Hu and cinematographer Fan Chao use the whole screen, capturing some strikingly scarred urban vistas and playing games with depth of focus for effect.
Unrelenting as its tone may be, the feature proves a delicately layered, deftly shot work that makes an incisive statement about the prevalence of apathy, arrogance and egotism in contemporary China and beyond.
The film's images extricate beauty from the most dismal of situations and together with his actors, Hu manages to evoke emotions so deeply felt and overwhelming that they compensate for any narrative contrivances.
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