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Long Day's Journey into Night

Bi Gan

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This is a film that takes patience and a willingness to let go of conventional storytelling, but those who go with its ravishing flow will find rich rewards in young Chinese director Bi Gan’s Long Day’s Journey into Night. This is a beautiful, smolderingly, enigmatic and romantic film. Little to do with the Eugene O’Neill play of the same name, Bi Gan invites us into an experimental film noir world where our hero travels through three different kinds of space – real, dream and memory – to look for a woman he once loved.

"Bi Gan invites us into an experimental film noir world..."

Oozing atmosphere with its neon glow, the film chronicles the return of Luo Hongwu (Huang Jue) to Kaili, the hometown from which he fled many years before. Back for his father's funeral, Luo recalls the death of an old friend, Wildcat, and searches for lost love Wan Qiwen (Tang Wei), who continues to haunt him. Sculpting time and space through virtuosic technical feats, Bi's film yields successive visual and aural delights. With talismanic cues and motifs of uncanny doubling, the film is bisected – its first half recast in the second through a vertiginous, trance-inducing, hour-long single take in 3D. A hushed, hypnotic study of hazy memory, lost time, and flight – and featuring the formidable Sylvia Chang as Wildcat's mother – Long Day's Journey into Night leads you on a nocturnal, labyrinthine voyage, one that both reveals and conceals a world of passion and intrigue.

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