In a modern reworking of the tale of Jason and the Argonauts, teenage protagonist Wei Bu critically injures a school bully by accident. Over a single eventful day, he crosses paths with a classmate, an elderly neighbor, and the bully’s older brother, all of them bearing their own individual burdens, and all drawn as if by gravity to the city of Manzhouli, where a mythical elephant is said to sit, indifferent to a cruel world. An Elephant Sitting Still is a masterful, intensely felt epic that marks a career cut tragically short— its debut director Hu Bo took his life in October 2017, at the age of 29.
An Elephant Sitting Still premiered at New Directors/New Films, BAFICI, Hong Kong, IndieLisboa and Berlin, where it won the FIPRESCI Prize. Now screening at Lincoln Center.