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Seeing China Through Film: An Elephant Sitting Still

March 16, 2022 @ 6:30 pm

Watch the film at home, then join us online March 16 for a free virtual talkback with film expert Richard Peña!

Watch the Film Online

Sure to be remembered as a landmark in Chinese cinema, this intensely felt epic marks a career cut tragically short: its debut director Hu Bo took his life in October 2017, at the age of 29. The protagonist of this modern reworking of the tale of Jason and the Argonauts is teenage Wei Bu, who 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. Full of moody close-ups and virtuosic tracking shots, An Elephant Sitting Still is nothing short of a masterpiece.

The 10-part Seeing China Through Film series is a tour of China’s greatest films curated by Columbia University Film Professor Richard Peña, former Program Director of the Film Society of Lincoln Center.


Richard Peña is a Professor of Film Studies at Columbia University, where he specializes in film theory and international cinema. From 1988 to 2012, he was the Program Director of the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Director of the New York Film Festival. A frequent lecturer on film internationally, in 2014-2015 he was a Visiting Professor in Brazilian Studies at Princeton, and in 2015-2016 a Visiting Professor in Film Studies at Harvard. In May, 2016, he was the recipient of the “Cathedra Bergman” at the UNAM in Mexico City, He currently hosts WNET/Channel 13’s weekly Reel 13.


This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department Of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

See the conversations and view the other films in Seeing China Through Film on our blog


March 16, 2022
6:30 pm
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