Professor Jennifer Ruth will present “Reassessing Chinese Independent Cinema: Past, Present . . . and Future?” at the January online conference Reassessing Chinese Independent Cinema. She compares Jia Zhangke’s Platform (2000) to Hu Bo’s An Elephant Sitting Still (2018). Chronicling the shift from the Mao years to Opening-up and Reform, Platform moves us through a disillusioned but collective reality into an equally disillusioned but now fragmented one. Made as Xi Jinping tightens the Party’s grip, destroying the New Citizens’ Movement and other attempts to build a critical public sphere, An Elephant Sitting Still embeds its audience in toxic situations that appear impossible to escape except through death. However, the film also points toward a less fallen world, one in which isolated and broken individuals learn to share public space.