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Long Day's Journey Into Night 2018

Long Day's Journey Into Night | Di qiu zui hou de ye wan | Un grand voyage vers la nuit

Long Day's Journey Into Night-Di qiu zui hou de ye wan-Un grand voyage vers la nuit

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Dreams rise up and I wonder if my body is made of hydrogen. And then my memories would be made of stone.

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About Long Day's Journey Into Night 💬

Luo Hongwu (Jue Huang) returns to Kaili, the hometown from which he fled several years ago. He begins the search for the woman he loved, and whom he has never been able to forget. She said her name was Wan Quiwen...


Q: The film's Chinese title, Last Evenings On Earth, comes from a short story by Roberto Bolaño, while the international title is inspired by a play by Eugene O'Neill. Are the themes of night and the journey the only similarities?

Gan Bi: Picking titles and characters' names is always a bit challenging for me. The thing is, all the characters' names in the film are actual names - names of popular singers. I picked names I liked, names that matched with the film's spirit. Just like the titles of these two works of literature.

Q: After Kaili Blues, how did you approach this new project?

Gan Bi: First of all, from a technical standpoint, I'm not satisfied with Kaili Blues. I'm sorry I couldn't do certain things because we had such a limited budget. With this new film, I've tried to fulfill my dreams and to be more knowledgeable about the film industry. And then, I've always been fascinated by Chagall's paintings and Modiano's novels. I wanted to make a film close to their works, and by the emotions and sensations they evoke.

Q: So it's Chagall's magic combined with Modiano's questions of memories?

Gan Bi: The whole film plays with memories, the magic of memories.

Q: Stylistically, LONG DAY'S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT is reminiscent of a genre movie. Is this what drove you to make this film in the first place?

Gan Bi: I've never taken any screenwriting courses. So I've developed my own writing habits. To begin with, as regards the script, Kaili Blues was a road movie. Once the first draft was written, I began destroying it from the inside, little by little. This gave it a form I liked. Originally LONG DAY'S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT was a film noir, close to Billy Wilder's Double Indemnity. Through my process of ''destroying'' scene after scene, the film eventually took on the style it has today.

Q: So you build by destroying? And then add a great many details and personal touches.

Gan Bi: Yes but I also work by breaking down and reconstructing. I swap elements and move them from one scene to the next.

Q: How did novelist Chang Ta-Chun participate in the writing of the film?

Gan Bi: He was a consultant on the script. We talked at great length about the film's structure, including its division into two parts. The title of the first part is Memory; that of the second is Poppy, in reference to Paul Celan's poem Poppy and Memory. At some point, I even considered using this as the film's title.

Q: For me, the first part addresses issues of time and memory in different timelines. The second part deals with the notion of space, which is emphasized by the single sequence shot and the use of 3D.

Gan Bi: It's a film about memory. After the first part (in 2D), I wanted the film to take on a different texture. In fact, for me, 3D is simply a texture. Like a mirror that turns our memories into tactile sensations. It's just a three- dimensional representation of space. But I believe this three-dimensional feeling recalls that of our recollections of the past. Much more than 2D, anyway. 3D images are fake but they resemble our memories much more closely.

Q: ''Dangmai'' is a town - an actual world you have created in your films.

Gan Bi: Originally, Dangmai was an imaginary place. Over the course of my films, it has become the crossroads of different timelines. In this film, it's the background of memories - a dream-like place that actually exists.

Q: The film both evokes a dream and feels connected to the birth of cinema. It has a very humid atmosphere, somehow reminiscent of Wong Kar-wai. Is this connected to the weather of your hometown, Kaili, where you particularly like to shoot?

Gan Bi: I'm a great fan of Days of Being Wild and perhaps I'm unconsciously influenced by Wong Kar-wai's work. It meant a lot to the younger generation of Chinese filmmakers. Kaili is located in a subtropical area so it's often raining, especially during summer.

Q: I have the feeling that, for you, cinema is first and foremost about creating an atmosphere and feelings. It's not simply about telling a story - at least, that's not what's most important.

Gan Bi: Definitely. I'm always trying to capture the atmosphere of the locations I'm shooting in - to portray their authenticity. To do this, I almost always change the scenes when I get on set before I begin shooting: the actors end up getting used to it, and being inspired by it. When everybody on set is seeking that authenticity, I'm truly fascinated. The plot in itself is always a bit ordinary. This film is simply about a man setting out to look for a woman. But what I wanted to capture were the emotions. I refrained from shooting overly explanatory scenes. I was aware they would only lead to a purely narrative film.

Q: And yet ''a film must be easy to understand'', don't you think?

Gan Bi: I'm always told my films are difficult to understand. But it's wrong - you need to feel them! If I don't shoot the usual explanatory scenes, it's because they make me lazy. You tend to say to yourself: ''As I have a plot thread, all I have to do is follow it - it's easy.'' But without these narrative scenes, you still grasp the storyline. Besides, it makes for nice surprises.

Q: You seem to need to reinvent yourself all the time, to reassess the filmmaking process, from the shoot to the editing. Is it a challenging process for you?

Gan Bi: The shoot is always very hard on me. I need to feel at risk, almost as if I had to escape death to carry on creating. I often tell myself that the film is lousy but then the next day I come up with a new idea - it rekindles the film, which takes on a new life. I find that questioning yourself to step out of your comfort zone - even if it means ''destroying'' yourself - is necessary for creators. I'm convinced that many great filmmakers are like that - although obviously, I don't claim to be in their league. This is something I'd already experienced on Kaili Blues. Whether I have a big or a small budget, I can't satisfy myself with just making a film because I have a written screenplay. It's not enough for me, it's not inspiring enough.

Q: You like popular songs from the past, which bring a nostalgic touch to the film.

Gan Bi: I picked songs I grew up with and enjoyed as a teenager. It was the same process as in Kaili Blues. They immediately remind us of our memories, whether sweet or bitter. I'm a big fan of the singer Wu Bai. His voice is the sound of ruins. When I was thinking about the film, his voice naturally accompanied the images in my mind. For the film, I had to cut down on the number of songs; I could have included a lot more! Composer Lim Giong also wrote a few pieces.

Q: Is it a romance? A film noir? Or maybe a sci-fi movie?

Gan Bi: I think it defies categorization. My main hope is that it's a film unlike any other. But then again, it could be all three together, couldn't it?

Q: Poetry is very important to you. Its use has taken various forms in your films and evolved since Kaili Blues.

Gan Bi: Kaili Blues is a very personal film - I could even say, exaggerating a bit, that it has nothing to do with filmmaking, as it was so close to my personal life. LONG DAY'S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT is much more cinematic - I've given filmmaking a great deal of thought since.

Q: You've included far fewer poetry quotes in this film.

Gan Bi: I even took out the only direct quote I had planned to include towards the end of the film. I turned it into an incantation the characters speak to make the bedroom rotate. This way, the film's poetry is only conveyed through images and sound.

Q: Do you see your style as related to magic realism?

Gan Bi: I think my films are more realistic than magical. Because cinema is such a magical artform! No film is without magic. In cinema, anything’s possible. In this film, all the characters are willing to fly. I could feel it when I was shooting them.

Q: There's no airport in Kaili but you can still fly! Did you want all the characters to speak the same Kaili dialect?

Gan Bi: Yes. It took them quite some time to learn it. It's not easy. They were very generous and outdid themselves for my film.

Q: Why did you shoot in dialect?

Gan Bi: I find Mandarin quite dull and devoid of true beauty. Dialects inspire me to write dialogue or poetry.

Interview by Wang Muyan, April 28, 2018

Long Day's Journey Into Night Movie Details 🎥

Directed by

Gan Bi

Writing Credits

Gan Bi


Wei Tang

Jue Huang

Sylvia Chang

Hong-Chi Lee

Yongzhong Chen

Feiyang Luo

Meihuizi Zeng

Chun-hao Tuan

Yanmin Bi

Lixun Xie

Xi Qi

Ming Dao

Zezhi Long

Music by

Chih-Yuan Hsu

Giong Lim

Cinematography by

David Chizallet

Hung-i Yao

Jingsong Dong

Genres: Drama, Mystery, Romance

Countries: China, France

Long Day's Journey Into Night Official Trailer

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