Steve's China Blog

Monday, July 10, 2006

Qian li zou dan qi

Last night I watched a movie on TV called "Riding Alone for a Thousand Miles". I started watching it because it had both Chinese and English sub-titles. I kept on watching it because I wanted to figure out if it was a Japanese movie or a Chinese movie. I ended up watching the whole thing and now want to find it on DVD since I sort of felt a connection to the main character as he travelled around China without being able to speak Chinese and having to deal with Chinese people, laws, and customs...

Qian li zou dan qi (Riding Alone for a Thousand Miles - 2005)

A young Japanese film maker is in hospital in Tokyo. His estranged father tries to visit, but the son refuses to see him. So, as a gesture of reconciliation, the father decides to go to China to complete the filming of a Chinese opera, called "Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles," which the son was working on but unable to finish. But the master singer whom the son was most interested in filming is now in jail, so official permission must be granted. And then the singer has a breakdown because he wants to see his own young son who is way off in the country somewhere. So the Japanese father now has to travel distances to find the son of the singer. A strong and beautiful film as one would expect from master director Yinou Zhang, it is a tale of one man's journey both into the world and into himself. In a way, it's a road movie, but there's more than one kind of road involved. Unlike his more dramatic fantasies, this is a quiet and haunting story, filled with stunning images from the hidden heart of China.


  • Having just returned from an afternoon DVD shopping... I can state for certain you'll not have any problem finding this at any number of shops as it's Zhang Yimou's newest film.

    I'm surprised (not really) that it was put on TV so quickly... as it was in theatres not that long ago.

    You'll likely know Zhang Yimou from the films "House of the Flying Daggers" and "Hero"... his two movies that had movement in the US (at least a little)... but he's a fantastic director and has made some powerful films. I think at last count I had in my collection:
    Raise The Red Lanturn
    Red Sorghum
    Shanghai Triad
    Not One Less
    To Live
    House of the Flying Daggers

    I've also got a movie that he starred in with Gong Li (most recently seen in Memoirs of a Geisha with another Zhang Yimou favourite lead, Zhang Ziyi) called Terracotta Warrior.

    One thing about that little blurb you have there about the film... I HATE how IMDbers (I'm guessing that's where it was got from) always switch around the Chinese names. Is it really so hard to remember that in China they have the surname first and given second? Anyone that's into Chinese film should know this.

    Why does no one say Zedong Mao? Or Xiaoping Deng?

    By Anonymous The Humanaught, at 9:53 PM  

  • Glad to hear I should not have trouble finding it on DVD. I think I'll go this weekend and get that and the new Pirates of the Carribean movie.

    As for Chinese names they may not know the surname always comes first. I did not know about that until I first came to China 5 years ago.

    By Blogger Steve Harms, at 9:54 AM  

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