Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles (2005)
One of the most infamous directors in Chinese film, Zhang Yimou is known for such films as House of Flying Daggers and Hero. Yimou is considered a Fifth Generation filmmaker, creating films after the Cultural Revolution in China. The Fifth Generation films tend to portray a contentious relationship to the past and a strong current of realism, especially in dealing with social issues.
Riding Alone is fairly straightforward story about the relationship between fathers and sons. Gou-ichi Takata (Ken Takakura) is living in a remote fishing village in Japan when he receives word that his son Ken-ichi (Nakai Kiichi) is very ill. A past incident has created a rift between the two, the details of which are not made explicit in the film. In order to put the relationship back in balance, the elder Takata undertakes a journey to Yunnan, China’s most southwestern province, to film a Chinese folk opera that was a passion of his son.
Although the landscapes in the film are stunning, the cinematography is downplayed to allow more of an intimate, interpersonal focus. And while the emotional displays of actors Ken Takakura, Zhenbo Yang and Li Jiamin are phenomenal, the film risks emotional saturation.
- Story B
- Acting B+
- Visuals B
- Originality/Innovation B
- Enjoyability B+
- Overall B
- DVD Extras B-