Like Gaspar Noe‘s recent Climax, Bi Gan‘s LONG DAY’S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT is a divided dreamscape, where the opening titles show up halfway through the film, at which point the work descends into a deeper darkness.
Climax essentially ends after the exhilarating dance sequence that makes up its first forty-five minutes, and the remainder of the film is an exercise in nihilistic free fall. But Bi’s new work—the 28-year-old’s second feature—jumps a dimension as its second half begins, when the weary protagonist (played by Jue Huang) walks into a cinema, takes a seat, puts on a pair of 3-D glasses (signaling that you, the audience, should do the same), and…
During a period of exceptionally strong Chinese and South Korean noir—see Lee Chang-Dong‘s Burning, Jia Zhangke‘s Ash is Purest White, and An Elephant Sitting Still, the first and last film by the late Hu Bo—LONG DAY’S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT is the most elliptical of the group. It’s a tale of lost love, dead ends, chance meetings, subconscious triggers—a movie that is a memory of itself.
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From top: Wei Tang and Yongzhong Chen in Long Day’s Journey Into Night; Jue Huang; Hong-Chi Lee; Yongzhong Chen. Photographs by Liu Hongyu, except Jue, photograph by Bai Linghai. Images courtesy of Kino Lorber.