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The World

3.4 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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(Feb 14, 2006)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Acclaimed director Jia Zhanke casts a compassionate eye on the daily loves, friendships and desperate dreams of the twenty-somethings from China's remote provinces who come to live and work at Beijing's World Park.


One of the year's most highly praised pictures, Jia Zhangke's ravishing epic opens in a rush of color and sound. Here's young China in action, optimistic and bursting with life. First there's yelling (for a badly-needed Band-Aid), then music--gurgling synths atop a pan-ethnic beat--as the sequin and feather-bedecked performers of the "Five Continents" company take the stage of the real-life World Park. As the ads say, "See the world without ever leaving Beijing," and 106 of the globe’s major sites are recreated in miniature, like a third-scale Eiffel Tower and mini-Lower Manhattan--complete with Twin Towers. Doll-faced Tao (Tao Zhao), ever-present cell phone in hand, is at the center of the maelstrom. Her boyfriend, Taisheng (Taisheng Chen), is a security guard with a sideline in fake IDs (and infidelity). When some Russian guest workers join the troupe, Tao's increasingly insular world briefly expands. She and Anna (Alla Shcherbakova) don't speak the same language, but do what they can to communicate. Tao envies her new friend’s "freedom"--she's never been beyond China's borders--unaware that Anna's nomadic existence is by necessity rather than choice. When she finds that Anna has become an escort, Tao's world snaps back to its previous dimensions, ultimately shrinking down to nothing. The World is unambiguously ambitious, with elaborate dance sequences, animated text messages, and tragic subplots. Unlike 2000's Platform, Zhangke's fourth feature isn't set in the past or the provinces, but he surpasses that success with his finest--and most cynical--film to date. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Special Features

  • Gorgeous new 16:9 transfer, created from hi-def elements
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • Video interview with film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum
  • On-set photo gallery
  • Production notes by director Jia Zhangke
  • Character sketches and an essay on the real World Park

Product Details

  • Actors: Tao Zhao, Taishen Cheng, Jue Jing, Zhong-wei Jiang, Yiqun Huang
  • Directors: Zhangke Jia
  • Writers: Zhangke Jia
  • Producers: Hengameh Panahi, Keung Chow, Masayuki Mori, Nelson Lik-wai Yu, Shôzô Ichiyama
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Cantonese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Zeitgeist Films
  • DVD Release Date: February 14, 2006
  • Run Time: 143 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000C8ST80
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #152,138 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The World" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
I'm shocked by some of the reviews here, but not necessarily surprised - The average filmgoer/dvdwatcher has the attention span of a small child on crack & the intellectual curiosity of those small dustbunnies that collect under old furniture. Still, I expect more from you people.

I thoroughly enjoyed this film - & yes, I wasn't actually expecting to. In fact I bought it more than a month ago & kept making up excuses not to watch it. Imagine my surprise when I found myself intrigued by some of the relationships in the film. Tao's boyfriend who mysteriously returns at the beginning of the film then disappears for the duration. Or her strange relationship with the Russian woman Anna. Even more interesting was the relationship between Niu & Xiaowei - why did they end up getting married considering Niu's jealous behavior (he set himself on fire for godssake)? Who knows, but these details make for a supremely fascinating character study IMHO. Like real life, this film demonstrates that our relationships can be extremely complex & often unpredictable. We make friends with the most unlikely people in the bizarrest of situations - maybe we're lonely or just sense something of ourselves in them. We get involved with people we know will hurt us (over & over again). We often feel like we can't fully understand the person we're with & their motives...

Of course, The World's relationship angle is also used in a much broader sense: the employees of Beijing's amusement park & their relationship with China & in turn, China's relationship to the rest of the world. It seems to me that as China becomes more capitalistic this movie will gain in popularity with people who wish to understand these people better. Like most of us, they don't quite know where they fit in the world & although they work in a park that offers a scaled-down glimpse of the world outside Beijing, most of them will never get to see that world first hand.
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Format: DVD
giving this 2 STARS on AVERAGE????? Perhaps you should spend more time at 25 theater GOO-GOO PLEX watchin a Michael Bay Marathon or something. GET YOUR MIND OUT OF THE GUTTER!!! GO SEE SOME REAL CINEMA!!!! THINK FOR A CHANGE!!!

For those who felt this deserved 2 stars or less I recommend the following: Cache, Raise The Red Lantern, Yi yi, anything by Kurosawa. oh sorry.. these aren't playing along with all the Adam Sandler films you wanted to see next to the Cold Stone Creamery and the ruby Tuesday you wanted to visit afterward???

WELL TOUGH!!!! you need a friggin education..

review below.. read it ... you might learn something.

How can you truly show disconnection. I think I have truly seen a master in action with Shijie, a film that takes place in a world theme park (this place does really exist) in China.

Zhang Ke Jia is a masterful director. His use of colour and character direction is unreal. One of the things he uses to great effect are arches and hallways. Characters appear in them, or look out of them in what is some of the most visual photography I have ever witnessed. There is also a great conversation scene between two characters who don't share the same language, and the use of reflected light that is truly remarkable, make sure to watch for this scene. But it doesn't end there.

Zhang also does something so miraculous that I thought would be impossible. He borrows heavily from Ozu, particularly a scene that is reminiscent of Tokyo Story and makes something that is uniquely his own.

The basic synopsis of "The World", is of the lives of the workers in the theme park.
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Format: DVD
The World is aptly named; it's set in Beijing's World Park--a real theme park in China's capital, complete with miniature versions of landmark buildings and monuments from all over the world including, in this film, the often-mentioned Eiffel Tower, as well as the pyramids of Egypt, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Moscow's Red Square, the Taj Mahal, and so on.

The director, Zhang Ke Jia, focuses on a number of younger people (in their 20s) who work at World Park, interleaving their lives with each other to ultimately present a vision of 21st century urban China. This has a markedly different feel and tone from his earlier Unknown Pleasures, set in a rural provincial area, and from my point of view, is all the better for that change of setting.

The underlying thematic feel of the film is the inevitability of ephemeral relationships given not so much the availability of current technologies like the cell phone, but more so the reliance on them and, maybe most importantly, the enormous degree to which people's psychologies have been changed by these technologies. In fact, this short-lived nature of relationships, indicates Zhang, is inextricably enmeshed in the existence of World Park itself. People want to see and hear the world, all of the world, as quickly as possible, and World Park gives them that opportunity, even if in a fake kind of way--just like cell phones give people the opportunity to connect to anyone anywhere at any time, just as the Internet itself does.

But it's this instant "connectability" that also fosters relationships that cannot last. Tao, the female lead and a dancer at the World Park, has a strong emotional connection with her boyfriend Taisheng, a security guard in the same place. But he cannot commit; he cheats on her; she finds out.
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