An Elephant Sitting Still

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 Shuai down the stairs, who was bullying him previously. 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, along with many other characters whose fates are inextricably bound together, 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 directorial debut 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. On October 12, 2017, the artist took his own life at age 29.
by Hu Bo
with Zhang Yu, Peng Yuchang, Wang Yuwen, Liu Congxi
People’s Republic of China 2018 Mandarin 230’ Colour World premiere


  • Zhang Yu (Yucheng)
  • Peng Yuchang (Weibu)
  • Wang Yuwen (Huangling)
  • Liu Congxi (Laojin)


Written and Directed by Hu Bo
Cinematography Fan Chao
Editing Hu Bo
Sound Design Bai Ruizhou
Production Design Xie Lija
Producer Liu Xuan

World sales


Produced by

Dongchun Films Co., Ltd

Hu Bo

Born in 1988 in Jinan, Shangdong, China, He studied Film Directing at the Beijing Film Academy. Following two short films, An Elephant Sitting Still was his first feature-length film. Hu Bo took his own life in October 2017.


2014 Distant Father; 22 min. · Fleeing by Night; 30 min. 2018 An Elephant Sitting Still

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2018