Over the course of a single, eventful day, a restless camera stalks lives scarred by indifference, violence, and despair amid the frozen post-industrial decay of an anonymous city somewhere in northern China. Teenage Weibu (Peng Yuchang) is bullied at home and in school, his old neighbour Wang Jin (Liu Congxi) has been evicted from his home by his estranged family, and his classmate Huang Ling (Wang Yuwen) is having an affair with a school official and fears the release of a revealing video. To escape from their families, authorities, gangsters, and the bleak nature of reality, they embark on a journey to Manzhouli, where a mythical elephant is said to be sitting still, indifferent to the brutality of the world — casting a legendary spell that seems to draw the protagonists away from their troubles. Achingly elegant and epic, Hu Bo’s magnificent debut film spins a wrenching tale of rage and beauty. It is destined to become a landmark of new Chinese cinema, albeit one tainted by tragedy, as the immense talent of the young director is now forever lost due to his death shortly after the completion of this film.