Kino Lorber | Release Date: April 12, 2019
6.8
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Generally favorable reviews based on 25 Ratings
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9
amheretojudgeJul 7, 2019
What a film! The style over substance case is pushed into the pro section in the yellow pad.

Di Qui Zui Hou De Ye Wan (Long Day's Journey Into Night) Bi believes in the physicality of the storytelling. Visually, the writer and director, Gan
What a film! The style over substance case is pushed into the pro section in the yellow pad.

Di Qui Zui Hou De Ye Wan (Long Day's Journey Into Night)

Bi believes in the physicality of the storytelling. Visually, the writer and director, Gan Bi may hide plenty behind the curtain but it certainly oozes sexiness like I haven't seen in films, lately. Split into two acts, the first one has an inspiring filmmaking style to learn from. In each frame the world seems resisting or rushing towards something. It is perpetually vibrating and sensibly the camera are told to be still. This attention towards peace isn't forced but calls for it with a disturbing behaviour. Tricking us into believing how edgy or shady or abnormal the acts are. The food eaten isn't enjoyed or dives are taken dutifully instead, luxuriously.

There is often something flowing, blinking, moving, rotating, floating, burning, humming or blowing behind the staged set. This metaphor of continuation or even capturization is also transferred, latter, into audio. And when the camera stands still, the close up of someone's face mourns, silently. Now, this tells you how difficult it could be to go through a process like such. Yet, you are hooked, intrigued by not the mystery it spirals out but the romance.

The romance between the objects around it, a clock or a letter or a photograph or a book or a glass of water or a even a bat. Now as much as hefty this first act is, the second half is equally lofty and light on its feet. And I might not be the proper observer to scale that part of the film. I am gullible for one take shots. And imagine my feeling when I hit this gold mine that lasts for more than an hour. No matter how many detours then is taken I don't want this Long Day's Journey Into Night to end.
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2 of 2 users found this helpful20
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7
GinaKMay 14, 2019
A playful, surreal film that held my attention throughout although nothing very much happens in a world that’s uniformly gray.
1 of 1 users found this helpful10
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10
jickayApr 13, 2019
This thin, invisible thread draws you along, luring you into a dream you weren't expecting to have. While it's easy to focus on the stellar cinematography, it is the narrative, the lull of the sad feeling of longing that remains. The longingThis thin, invisible thread draws you along, luring you into a dream you weren't expecting to have. While it's easy to focus on the stellar cinematography, it is the narrative, the lull of the sad feeling of longing that remains. The longing for that which has been lost, that which cannot be, that mystical connection we seek when it becomes difficult to hold back those tears another day. That is what the Long Day's Journey Into Night is. Let yourself be absorbed and take in every beautiful bite. Expand
1 of 4 users found this helpful13
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8
AntonioSanAlo99Jun 27, 2019
A new wave experience with a really good technique behind the camera but lacking in a less impressive use of narrative, Kaili Blues was better trying to connect with the language of mind being more connected and coherent. In Long Day'sA new wave experience with a really good technique behind the camera but lacking in a less impressive use of narrative, Kaili Blues was better trying to connect with the language of mind being more connected and coherent. In Long Day's Journey Into Night the motive was blurred with a treatment of time near to the liquid, but maybe a different use of montage benefits the really impressive use of photography. Expand
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7
Bertaut1Jan 11, 2020
A luminous esoteric puzzle

As unconcerned with formal conventionality as it is with narrative resolution, Long Day's Journey into Night is an esoteric puzzle made up of two distinct parts. Whilst the 2D first half is a reasonably
A luminous esoteric puzzle

As unconcerned with formal conventionality as it is with narrative resolution, Long Day's Journey into Night is an esoteric puzzle made up of two distinct parts. Whilst the 2D first half is a reasonably conventional noir, the second is composed of an unbroken 50-minute 3D shot that's as aesthetically audacious as it is narratively elliptical. The second feature from Bi Gan, Long Day's Journey is aggressively enigmatic, and the absence of character arcs, the formal daring, the languorous pacing, and the resistance to anything approaching definitive conclusions, will undoubtedly see many react with equal parts bafflement and infuriation. However, if you can get past such issues and go with the film on its own terms, you'll find a fascinatingly esoteric examination of the protean nature of memory.

Long Day's Journey tells the story of Luo Hongwu (Huang Jue). In 2000, he met and had a brief but memorable relationship with the mysterious Wan Qiwen (Tāng Wéi), whom he has never been able to forget. When he returns to his home city of Kaili to bury his father, he sets about trying to track down Qiwen, as the story of their relationship is told via flashbacks. However, it soon becomes apparent that just because Lou remembers a thing doesn't necessarily mean that that thing happened. When his search leads him to a dingy movie theatre, he puts on a pair of 3D glasses and finds himself in an abandoned mine from which his only hope of escape is to win a game of ping pong. The rest of the film takes place in his dream world. Or in the 3D movie playing in the theatre. Or in an amalgamation of both. Or in something else entirely.

Long Day's Journey's biggest selling point is unquestionably the aesthetically audacious second hour. Unlike 'single-take' films such as Climax (2018), Utøya 22. Juli (2018), and 1917 (2019), which use long-takes and 'hidden' edits to give the effect of a single-shot, the second half of Long Day's Journey follows films such as Russkij Kovcheg (2002) and Victoria (2015) insofar as it was legitimately shot via one single take. And it's a complex and visually layered shot too, featuring drones, Steadicams, intricate blocking, elaborate external locations with multitudes of people, practical effects, complex interior locations, even a lengthy sequence set on a zip line. Considering the scope, it would be an impressive enough accomplishment in 2D, but that it was filmed with bulky 3D cameras is almost unbelievable.

What's especially laudable about the sequence, however, is how it never becomes gimmicky. Most movies released in 3D have no real thematic justification for being in 3D, nothing in their content to justify their form, whilst films such as Victoria have no real thematic justification for being single-shots. Long Day's Journey, however, justifies both decisions. This is a film about memory, specifically the idea that memory can be deceptive, and may have as much to do with subjective dreams as with objective reality. In this sequence, as memory, reality, and dream seem to blend into one another, Gan shows us not just the content of a dream, but the illogical texture. You replace the 3D with 2D, or you replace the single-shot with edits, and you lose that texture; the 3D/single-shot form is as important as James Joyce's removal of punctuation is in creating the impression of a mind on the brink of falling asleep in the last episode of Ulysses – restore the punctuation, and the interrelatedness of form and content is lost.

Thematically, the conventional first half of the film concerns itself not just with memory, but with the imperfect nature of memory, suggesting that obsession is nothing more than a trick of the mind, an attempt to reattain something that may never have existed in the first place. Indeed, it's worth noting that the most recurrent visual motif is that of reflection – not just in mirrors, but so too in puddles, which act as slightly more distorted (subjective?) versions of the relatively perfect reflection one gets from a mirror. So even here, one can see that Gan is examining the fault line between objectivity and subjectivity.

All of which will go some way to telling you whether or not you're likely to enjoy Long Day's Journey. It's rarely emotionally engaging in a conventional sense and the storyline is elliptical, the characters archetypal, and the themes subtle. You either embrace the emphasis on mood and tone, or you fight it. Personally, I loved its formal daring and admired Gan's confidence and the singularity of his vision, but I found each section outstayed it's welcome a little. Gan also walks a very fine line between emotional detachment and emotional alienation, and it's a line he crosses a couple of times. Nevertheless, this is an awe-inspiring technical achievement, an ultra-rare example of a film which perfectly matches form to content, and a fascinating puzzle that trades in the undefinable nuances of memory.
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