The World

scarred, convulsed
visceral defamiliarization
world is flux
mysterious forces
Shanxi Province, 1970
break-dancer, painter
Xiao Wu
hometown loser
dreary, exotic, imprisoning
temps perdu
Bazinian taste
long takes, contemplative middle shots
unmediated reality
The movie’s penultimate image, a domestic scene held just long enough for the full weight of quotidian despair to infect the audience, epitomizes the protagonists’ odyssey from kindergarten We to isolated Me.
half-built or despoiled
mercenary winners, depressed losers
Then, in a final shot comparable to the majestically downbeat “real time” closer in Platform, one of them entertains us by singing the title song while under arrest, after a pathetically bungled bank robbery. 1

1 J Hoberman (merc winner) 2

2 Ask me why I say that.

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