Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles (2005) (China)

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Re: Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles (2005) (China)

Postby trevor826 » Tue Sep 26, 2006 4:18 pm

I'm surprised you gave it such a good grade Howard, considering how judging by your review it is far weaker than his earlier films.

I haven't felt the slightest impulse to seek out this film and just hope this is a one off, I felt Chen Kaige's "Together with you" was horribly schmaltzy and I certainly don't wish to repeat that experience.

Cheers Trev.

Re: Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles (2005) (China)

Postby howardschumann(d) » Tue Sep 26, 2006 4:37 pm

B- for me is not a particularly good grade but the film does have outstanding performances which cannot be overlooked.

Re: Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles (2005) (China)

Postby hengcs » Thu Oct 05, 2006 1:24 am

oh no ...
i actually quite like "Together"
could it be a "cultural" thing? ha ha ha ...

Re: Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles (2005) (China)

Postby wpqx » Fri Oct 06, 2006 4:14 am

I found Together weak, at least for Kaige, although I've avoided his American debaucle and still have The Promise in my to watch pile. I would probably agree with Howard's grade on the film, more or less. At times it just felt too safe for me.

Re: Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles (2005) (China)

Postby hengcs » Mon Oct 09, 2006 2:00 am

The Promise?!
oh no ... u will even like it less ...
* hiaks hiaks *

Re: Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles (2005) (China)

Postby A » Thu Oct 12, 2006 10:03 pm

I also have to warn you, wpqx.
I had to watch this piece of sh** at the Berlin Film Festival, and it is probably the worst film I've seen.
Simply put it out of your to watch pile, and forget you've ever heard of it. You won't be able to keep your good opinion on Kaige after that.

Re: Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles (2005) (China)

Postby arsaib4 » Fri Oct 13, 2006 2:55 am


Re: Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles (2005) (China)

Postby wpqx » Fri Oct 13, 2006 3:55 pm

That's only going to make me more curious. I love a good train wreck sometimes.

Re: Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles (2005) (China)

Postby trevor826 » Thu Apr 19, 2007 8:17 pm

Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles (Qian li zou dan qi) (2005)

Directed by Zhang Yimou

Starring Ken Takakura (Yasha - 1985), Shinobu Terajima (Vibrator - 2003)

Welcome to a long advert from the Chinese Tourist Board.

A few reviews have noted this as a return to Zhang Yimou's earlier films, don't believe it, sure there's a little bit of this and that, bureaucratic problems - The Story of Qiu Ju, a runaway child - Not One Less but that's as far as it goes. This certainly takes a different turn from all his other films, it is his first full on tear-jerker, and judging by some of the females in the audience, in that sense it works.

Since Hero I've had the feeling that Zhang is working hand in glove with the Chinese government to target different groups to show that China is changing, opening up to a wider world.

Hero is one primarily for the Chinese populace, an admission of the past that has previously been pushed away, neglected and demonised. Presented in a highly theatrical manner it shows the brave commoners trying to destroy the soon to be first Emporer of China.

Why do they fail? Because the chosen assassin realises that although the slaughter and destruction of all the smaller provinces is a despicable act, it will lead to a unified strong country which will of course lead to the China we recognise today. Hence what happened in the past was wrong but what it lead to was right.

Very different in tone from Chen Kaige's The Emperor and the Assassin where Qin was painted as almost lunatic.

House of Flying Daggers, made primarily for a western audience, took a leaf from the success of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. A take on the tragic romance but with far more of a classic western feel. No clear cut good or bad guys, sumptuous set pieces in a tale of impossible love that could have come straight from a Shakespeare play.

One strong feature is missing in HoFD from all previous films directed by Zhang Yimou, one that sends a clear political statement, the colour Red. Oh yes you'll see red blood and the odd little uniform detail, but for a colour that has been so predominant in all his other films, its absence is stark. Politically of course it's saying to the world that China has moved away from its hard line communist stance.

Having not seen Curse of the Golden Flower yet, I can't make any comment on it.

So we come to Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles. A double meaning to the title, the name of a traditional Chinese mask opera, the type banished under the hard line communist regime and the central character Gou-ichi Tanakas journey to film this opera for his dying son.

In typical quest fashion, a number of trials face Tanaka San before he can reach his goal, though each problem is easily solved through the friendly Chinese bureaucrats and village chiefs, a far cry from the turgid time faced by Qiu Ju or Minzhi Wei (Not One Less). Tanaka San is aided in his travails by a tourist guide/ translator called Lingo, terrible at translating Japanese but far more capable with English, a point to note for anyone wishing to travel into the far reaches of this amazing country and culture.

Every town and village is very photogenic, either pretty or quaint, very different from the town idepicted in Zhang Ke Jias Xiao Wu, this along with the varied fabulous scenery and the constantly friendly crowds of happy peasents and officials carries a clear message. A tourist board Welcome to China and that, rather than the journey of a father to try and connect with his estranged dying son was the thought that the film left with me.

Zhang Yimou will never recapture the days of Raise the Red Lantern or even Happy Times, so I guess all we can look forward to are more over the top martial arts epics.

Although I cant give the film a big thumbs up, I thought the performances were fine and the film was far better than Chen Kaiges Together With You.

Cheers Trev.

Re: Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles (2005) (China)

Postby A » Sat Sep 08, 2007 4:51 pm

On the whole, I have to agree with all of you on this one except hengcs. This was a nice try, but nothing more. The story and the acting are quite good, but the directing must be one of Zhang's weakest, and the rhythm, editing, cinematography and the way the topic was handled were rather weak. Although it seems that I found it much more emotionally rewarding than most of you (as I got almost moved to tears in certain moments - not the deliberately "cute" stagings of the little boy - I'm rather with hengcs considering this aspect), the artistic quality of the film seemed extremely low to me. Yes, it is more on the "artsy" side, and I found the Japanese segments , which were not shot and directed by Zhang Yimou and his crew (!) particularly rewarding, but the oversimplifications and pondering to the audience during other segments was sometimes almost unbearable. A very uneven film, I wouldn't recommend it to a fan of Mr. Zhang, but overall i still found it a good movie, with the positive traits outweighing the negative ones. I think the biggest problem while watching the film might be your own expectations, and the fact that the story offers an incredibly huge potentialof possibilities which are rarely explored. If anything, the film at times bites of more than it can chew, yet the result in my opinion isn't unsatisfying. If you take the film for what it is, you should have a rewarding experience.

The biggest disppointment for me was the lensing of the Chinese segments. Having seen the excellent photography of some of Zhang's other films, this uninspiring work was a huge let-down. Seemed almost like it was made for a small TV screen and not for the cinema


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