Screened as part of NZIFF 2019
Thick with atmosphere and intense longing, Bi Gan’s audacious arthouse noir – a sensation at Cannes 2018 and a hot topic in its native China – explores the memories and regrets of a world-weary loner searching for a woman from his past. Luo Hongwu (Huang Jue), drifting from one old haunt to the next in his home town of Kaili, begins to piece together fragments of his love affair with Wan Qiwen, a melancholic beauty he can neither forget nor clearly remember. The exact whereabouts of Wan – played by Chinese superstar Tang Wei (Lust, Caution) – remain unknown; that is, until Luo wanders into a dingy movie theatre and, while prompting us to don our 3D glasses, sets in motion the film’s heralded second act.
With this and his debut feature, Kaili Blues, director Bi has confirmed his stature as a poet laureate of the long take, and the 59-minute 3D tracking shot that transforms Luo’s fruitless search into a limitless dream state promises to be the most enthralling cinematic experience of this festival. Deeply committed to the aesthetics of memory, Long Day’s Journey into Night is gloriously enigmatic and truest of all to the maxim that it’s not the destination, but the journey, that matters. — Tim Wong
“Long Day’s Journey into Night reaches a new level of cinematic intrigue as an immersive experience, unfolding within a surreal context that combines technical wizardry with high art. The unexpected love child of Wong Kar-wai and Andrei Tarkovsky… it’s both languorous and eye-popping at once.” — Eric Kohn, Indiewire