Mystery, passion and fear permeate the obsessive reverie of a man searching for his lost love, which takes flight in an audacious hour-long 3D dream-fantasy sequence
There is such artistry and audacity in this new film from 30-year-old Chinese director Bi Gan. Long Day’s Journey Into Night, a hallucinatory experience whose sinuous camera movements take you on a long journey into memory and fear and a night full of dreams – with influences from David Lynch, Apichatpong Weerasethakul and Wong Kar-wai. It is a film about obsessive love, lost love, and that Dantesque dark wood in which, in middle-age, you can suddenly find yourself, with a longing for the past and a creeping dread of a future.
Luo Hongwu (Huang Jue) is a former casino manager who has returned to the depressed home town he left 20 years before, because of the death of his father. In the family restaurant, run by his now-widowed stepmother, Luo finds a broken electric clock (one of many images indicating the treachery and unmanageability of time) and having removed the back to change the battery, he finds an old photo, apparently of a woman with whom he was passionately in love here in the old days. This is Wan Qiwen (Tang Wei). She was the girlfriend of a local bully and gangster Zuo Hongyuan (Chen Yongzhong) who murdered Luo’s friend, known only by his nickname Wildcat (Lee Hong-chi), whose mother (Sylvia Chang) ran a local hairdressing salon where Luo himself once worked. Then Zuo simply disappeared – on the run, or perhaps murdered himself?