In the northern Chinese city of Manzhouli, they say there is an elephant that simply sits and ignores the world. Manzhouli becomes an obsession for the protagonists of this film, a longed-for escape from the downward spiral in which they find themselves.
Among them is schoolboy Bu, on the run after pushing a bully down the stairs. Bu’s classmate Ling has run away from her mother and fallen for the charms of her teacher. Shuai’s older brother Cheng feels responsible for the suicide of a friend. And finally there’s Mr. Wang, a sprightly pensioner whose son wants to offload him onto a 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.
This electrifying film from Hu Bo, whose novels already caused a sensation in China, is a four-hour portrait of a society of egoists. Tragically, it will also be the final chapter in his legacy, as Hu Bo took his own life at the age of 29.
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