Long Day’s Journey Into Night, China’s biggest ever art-house blockbuster, follows lost-soul Luo Hongwu on a quest to find his long-departed love, Wan Qiwen (played by Lust, Caution’s Tang Wei). Combining elements of film noir with the swooning romanticism of Wong Kar-wai and the surreal atmosphere of Apichatpong Weerasethakul or even Andrei Tarkovsky, director Bi Gan (Kaili Blues) elegantly and poetically weaves past with present as the couple's romance and Luo’s homecoming slowly take shape. Then as if fully in a dream, Luo finds himself with a young tour-guide in the cave-like passageways surrounding a decaying movie house. From this point, Bi films the remaining 50-plus minutes of his feature in a single, monumental take—one that will plunge Luo into a labyrinthine cityscape where eventually he will cross paths with young beauty Kaizhen (also played by Tang). Long Day’s Journey Into Night is an art-house event like no other, a contemporary masterwork that recently translated its breakthrough domestic success into a string of New York City sellouts.
Director Bi Gan | 2018 | In Mandarin with English subtitles | 140 minutes | NR | DCP