Movie Diary 4/7/2019


Zhang Yu, Wang Yuwen: An Elephant Sitting Still

An Elephant Sitting Still (Hu Bo, 2018). A collection of people – stock types, in some ways, yet seen with something like new eyes – pass through a day in a grimy industrial city in north China. The entire 230-minute film is drenched in murk, whether because of the industrial air or the depression of the characters. Made up mostly of very long shots, the film reveals Hu Bo to be an almost off-handed master of composition and choreography, even as he is maddeningly averse to light. (The filmmaker committed suicide in 2017; this is his only feature film.) It plays again, twice, this coming Sunday, at Northwest Film Forum.