Man in the Well
Hu Bo’s posthumously-released short film Man in the Well was produced at the FIRST International Film Festival in Xining, China. Supervised by Béla Tarr, the seminar’s theme was ‘Apocalypse’, and Hu Bo succeeds in delivering a stark, atmospheric vision of end times that stacks up against the Hungarian auteur’s bleakest moments.
Man in the Well follows two starving kids, digging through the rubble of an abandoned building. Their survival impulse apparent, the duo also have something of a destructive streak, recalling both visually and in temperament the brutal gang of anoraked children in Shuji Terayama’s Emperor Tomato Ketchup. With an economy of means and a looming weight, the film ends with a disappearance, its young protagonists covered in blood and staring off into the middle distance. Much is left unspoken and any shred of innocence that could have remained until now is gone. —Herb Shellenberger & Becca Voelcker