An Elephant Sitting Still
A deeply melancholic drama by Chinese film director Hu Bo portraying a single day in four lives, of moody kids and petty criminals, in a post-industrial town in northern China. Wei Bu, a teenage boy at the mercy of his cruel father at home and the bullies at school; his crush, Huang Ling, whose affair with a teacher has gone viral; Wang Jin, an elderly man who is sent to a nursing home by his family, and Yu Cheng, a miserable, adulterous local gangster.
Although the emphasis is very much on the characters' representation, Hu leaves no doubt that their emotional tribulations and nihilistic outlook are all directly or indirectly caused by the town's economic depression. His nearly four-hour chronicle of people folding under economic pressure is an intimate, empathetic and above all sensitive portrait of human suffering.