Bi Gan’s fever dream Long Day’s Journey Into Night opens the Fall 2019 New Jersey Film Festival on Friday, September 13!
By Al Nigrin
originally published: 09/07/2019
Following his knockout debut, Kaili Blues, writer-director Bi Gan returns with this immersive art-house sensation that broke box office records in China. Again centering around his native province of Guizhou in southwest China, the director has created a film like nothing you’ve seen before. Long Day’s Journey Into Night is a noir-inspired film about a solitary man (Huang Jue) -- haunted by loss and regret -- who sets out on a quest to find a missing woman from his past. The film is told in two parts: the first is a quasi-detective story where he crosses paths with a series of characters, among them a prickly hairdresser played by the Taiwanese superstar Sylvia Chang. When the search leads him to a movie theater, the second part begins and he is plunged into a fever dream which flings him into a gravity-defying, labyrinthine cityscape that leaves him, and the viewer, breathless.
Long Day’s Journey Into Night is an unforgettable film but one that requires patience. One needs to become an archaeologist viewer who is willing to dig below the film’s surface and piece together the various narrative threads that are unearthed in this maze-like film.
Fans of films by David Lynch and Andrei Tarkovsky will see Gan’s references to these master cineastes in his work. This is definitely a film for those who don't require a clear and linear narrative. In the first half, two color tones are used to represent whether a section is from the current time period or from past memories. Once you're able to track the logic of the story (which is actually very complete), this first part is immersing you into the main character’s memory while also telling his story. As for the second part, we enter into the main character’s dream after he falls asleep in a movie theater.
Long Day's Journey Into Night is not for the passive viewer but rather the active and pensive one who has the patience and brains to see how this puzzle of a film comes together in the end.
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Here is more info on this screening:
Long Day’s Journey Into Night - Bi Gan (Kaili City, Guizhou,China) In this noir-inspired, dream-like film, a man sets out on a quest to find a missing woman from his past. Following various leads, he crosses paths with a series of characters, among them a prickly hairdresser played by the Taiwanese superstar Sylvia Chang. When the search leads him to a movie theater, he is plunged into a gravity-defying, labyrinthine cityscape that leaves him, and the viewer, breathless. In Mandarin, subtitled. 2018; 140 min.
Co-sponsored by the Rutgers University Confucius Institute and the Rutgers University Cinema Studies Program!
Friday, September 13, 2019 at 7:00 PM in Voorhees Hall #105/Rutgers University, 71 Hamilton Street, New Brunswick, New Jersey