The World (2005) The faux global amusements of Epcot Center have nothing on the kitsch at the heart of The World , a glorious achievement from Jia Zhangke,… 2005-07-01 PT139M Drama Foreign Language Cheng Taisheng Zhao Tao Zeitgeist Films
Movie Review

The World (2005)

LIFE IS LIKE A THEME PARK. ENJOY THE RIDE Just like Italy only smaller and in China
Image credit: The World: Ricky Wong
LIFE IS LIKE A THEME PARK. ENJOY THE RIDE Just like Italy only smaller and in China
EW's GRADE
A

Details Limited Release: Jul 01, 2005; Length: 139 Minutes; Genres: Drama, Foreign Language; With: Cheng Taisheng and Zhao Tao; Distributor: Zeitgeist Films

The faux global amusements of Epcot Center have nothing on the kitsch at the heart of The World, a glorious achievement from Jia Zhangke, the exciting Chinese director of Platform and Unknown Pleasures. Beijing's World Park, a jumble of international landmarks in scaled-down replica (including the Eiffel Tower, the Taj Mahal, and the Twin Towers, standing pitifully not-so-tall), claims to offer global travel without the hassle (or opportunity) of leaving home. But to the young employees whose lives are defined by its borders — including a lonely Russian dancer and a Chinese performer in love with a security guard — it's an insulated biosphere, a cage; cell phone text messaging is the closest these modern wanderers come to actually wandering.

Jia communicates all this potential and constriction in a film of wonderful looseness and innovation. Set free to film fakes, the director is the real thing.

Originally posted Jul 06, 2005 Published in issue #829 Jul 15, 2005 Order article reprints