Supported by BCAF’s China Art Film Fund, Hu Bo’s work An Elephant Sitting Still premiered at Film at Lincoln Center in March, 2019. The film was successfully screened in Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Columbus, Santa Fe, Honolulu, Seattle, Palm Springs, Nashville, St. Louis, Hudson, and San Diego. The movie continues to be screened across the United States. The film screens at Metrograph in New York, at Facets hosted by University of Chicago, and at Ahrya Fine Arts by Laemmle in Los Angeles. The film’s cinematographer Fan Chao attends the film screenings and talks.
In the northern Chinese city of Manzhouli, it is said that there is an elephant that simply sits still and ignores the world. Manzhouli becomes an obsession for the protagonists of the film, a longed-for escape from the downward spiral in which they find themselves (the film is set in Jingxing County, Hebei province). Among them is schoolboy Wei Bu (Peng Yuchang), on the run after accidentally pushing classmate Yu Shuai down the stairs, who was bullying him previously. Wei Bu's classmate Huang Ling (Wang Yuwen) has run away from her mother and fallen for the charms of the school's deputy dean. Yu Shuai's older brother, Yu Cheng (Zhang Yu), feels responsible for the suicide of a friend after sleeping with his wife. Wang Jin (Liu Congxi) is a sprightly pensioner whose daughter and son-in-law wants to offload him onto a nursing home. In virtuoso visual compositions, the film tells the story of one single suspenseful day from dawn to dusk, when the train to Manzhouli is set to depart.