REVIEW by Harriet Robbins
Chinese director Jia Zhange has given us a refreshing update on the world in which he lives. THE WORLD was shot in the World Park Enterprise located in the Fengia district of Beijing which features 106 famous sites from 14 countries and regions the world over, a tourist attraction that rivals Disneyland.
Zhange looks at WPE's workers and performers, most of whom are transplants from China's remote country areas, people whose lives have been deeply changed by their pursuit of happiness in 21st century China.
From the stunning opening scene in which a dancer, Tao, calls for medical aid, we begin to witness the interior and exterior lives of young people caught up in the bizarre web of their daily lives, loves, friendships and desperate dreams.
THE WORLD was made "in the system" with the approval of the Chinese Film Bureau. As Zhange notes, "the landscape in the park is fake, but the problems the characters face are very real. They must deal with their past pain; increased globalization won't reduce the gap created by history or the complications of our awakening age. The surreal has become reality."
Using animation and text messaging, Zhange creates with a dramatic flourish a fresh view of our digital age. This sensitive and probing work is a must-see film for all cineastes.
A Zeitgeist Films Release with English subtitles.