The World

  • 136'
  • China
  • 2004
After three features about Shanxi, the area of northern China where he was born, Jia Zhang-ke moves in The World to his present home Beijing. Yet he doesn't, because the magnificent setting of the film is decorated by lost icons like the Taj Mahal, the Eiffel Tower, Manhattan, Big Ben and the pyramids. They are miniatures, replicas in the Beijing World Park, where the 'new China' comes to quench its thirst on the promises of growing wealth. Tao (Zhao Tao - Jia's muse) sings and dances every day cheerfully in front of the audience. Her boyfriend Taisheng is one of the guards of the theme park. Just like her fellow dancers Xiaowei and Youyou, Tao is at the crossroads in her relationship, while Taisheng feels attracted to the fashion designer Qun. In this stylish and intelligent portrait of the young inhabitants of Beijing, Jia again confirms his role as a chronicler of modern China. Globalisation, consumerism and rapid, modern communication makes the lives of the characters light yet also superficial, isolated and disjointed. The acceleration of time might be able to close the hole in China's history, but it doesn't offer a solution to human needs and conflicts. A complex theme, beautifully designed in scene transitions with brief animations in Manga style, electronic beats, beautiful, touristy glitter shows and revealing dressing-room scenes. (SdH)
Jia Zhangke
Countries of production
China, Japan, France
Production Year
Festival Edition
IFFR 2005
Original title
Shi jie
Office Kitano Inc, Ichiyama Shozo, Mr. Han Jie, Lumen Films
Celluloid Dreams
Yu Lik-wai
Sound Design
Zhang Yang
Zhao Tao
Local Distributor
Contact Film