An Elephant Sitting Still Screen 4 articles

An Elephant Sitting Still

2018

An Elephant Sitting Still Poster
  • Each scene, whether it be a nasty argument or a desolate tour of some godforsaken corner, will last as long as Hu clearly felt it needs to, but his choices as to what constitutes a scene are uniquely his. A smoldering confrontation between Wang and members of Yu’s gang looms for minutes and then suddenly snaps shut with the first thrust of a pool cue. We don’t need to see the fight because, when Wang appears again all but unscathed, our hunch that he’ll have been victorious will be confirmed.

  • While it is hard not to place the director’s suicide in some sort of relation to the film’s deadly pallor and unrelenting gloom, it would be a mistake to celebrate the birth of a romantic cult figure rather than mourning the loss of a precocious talent. From the very opening scene up to its last frame, An Elephant Sitting Stilldoesn’t waste even a second of its precious 230 minutes; not a single image feels superfluous or ornamental, let alone self-indulgent.

  • Debut features seldom come as ambitious, or as accomplished, as An Elephant Sitting Still. . . . The cast of disaffected youths and petty criminals living in a stagnant former industrial city particularly recalls Unknown Pleasures, but Hu’s chosen aesthetic and mode of storytelling are entirely his own. Staying close to the protagonists at all times, both literally and figuratively, the film patiently draws a profoundly empathetic portrait of human suffering that is at once epic and intimate.

  • Can a completely grueling experience be worth the effort, the investment of time and self? In the case of An Elephant Sitting Still . . . , we’re talking about a four-hour story of such constant despair that not a single moment of joy or literal ray of sunlight pierces its desperate drama. But it is most definitely worth the ordeal. . . . This desire of some for release from life's onslaught of sorrow . . . can be felt in every single brutal minute of this sprawling film.

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