The Long Journey – By Ying Zhang – Short Film Review

Directed masterfully by Ying Zhang, ‘The Long Journey’ is a tale of regret and love that beautifully explores the relationship between an estranged father and son. A police officer, whose life is already falling apart due to ill health, discovers that his son may have been involved in an unspeakable crime.

The film’s success lies in emotionally framing the distraught relationship between father and son. This feels as if building towards something extremely tragic. Zhang explores how a father, already battered by the complexities of life from all sides, finds himself in a tug of war between morality and saving his only son. The father’s repeated attempts to bond with his son, who refutes all advances with indifference, are particularly heartbreaking.

With a perfectly paced narrative and a hand-held documentary style cinematography: Ying Zhang may have created the perfect example of a moral dilemma. Something which all fathers have to face at some point in their lives.  This complexity was beautifully-explored and an incredible subject to write about.

Also, the soundtrack adds to this constant low key tension between the two characters. Beyond that, it represents the nihilistic undertones of the story with fervor. Truly a unique was of adding onto the complexity and depth of the story. Of course, the whole film is beautifully shot and performed as well. But these small details add such an incredible layer to the film, that brings it to a whole other level.

Deep and moving, The Long Journey exemplifies the prowess of Ying Zhang. In crafting personal narratives that speak volumes about the human condition.