We’re introducing Night Mode … Try it out with the sun/moon icon at the top left. Or change font settings with the ‘A’ to make the site work for you.
Got it
ICA is closed from the 30 May – 3 June inclusive.
0 / 256
An Elephant Sitting Still
Institute of Contemporary Arts
An Elephant Sitting Still, dir. Hu Bo, People’s Republic of China 2018, 230 mins, Chinese with English subtitles

An elephant that sits and ignores the world becomes an obsession for the protagonists of the late writer and filmmaker Hu Bo’s four-hour epic, for whom it represents the possibility of escape from the stagnation and violence of their daily lives.

Set in a decaying industrial city, An Elephant Sitting Still is composed of beautifully orchestrated sequence shots punctuated by silences and sudden outbursts of verbal and physical violence. The film unfolds over a single suspenseful day and follows the intertwined struggles of its characters: Bu is on the run after critically injuring Shuai, the school bully; Shuai’s older brother, a gangster, seeks revenge; another of Bu’s schoolmates, Ling, fears the release of an incriminating video. Although the emphasis is on the characters’ subjectivities –achieved visually through the predominance of facial close-ups and shallow focus – the film firmly situates their tribulations within the bleak and determining context of the city’s economic depression. 

Critically acclaimed since its premiere at the Berlinale, Hu Bo’s ambitious first and final film delivers a subtle and furious social commentary on contemporary China that is destined to become a landmark of Chinese cinema.
Currently not available
07:00 pm
Tue, 04 May 2021
Cinema 3
This film is only available for ICA Members. Get free access to Cinema 3. Join today

The film is only available to audiences in the UK. Please do not book if outside the UK, as you will not be able to access the film. 

An Elephant Sitting Still will be available to stream until 11 May, 7pm. Tickets purchased for this film will be valid until the final streaming time. 

Red Members gain unlimited access to all exhibitions, films, talks, performances and Cinema 3.
Join today for £20/month.