Riding Alone For Thousands of Miles
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Zhang Yimou's Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles is a brilliant portrayal of the love that a father has for his child. Zhang uses the character of Takata to fuel this portrayal. Takata has such a profound inability to communicate with his son that he uses his daughter-in-law as a de-facto "interpreter" between himself and his child. During these "interpretations", Takata discovers that his son had promised to film a Chinese opera singer playing his most famous role. As an attempt at reconciliation, Takata goes to China to finish this task for his son, who is dying of cancer. In going to China, Takata seems to face an insurmountable obstacle: a foreign country where a different language is spoken. However, in a clever twist, this obstacle actually turns out to be an advantage for Takata, because he is used to dealing in an environment where he is unable to converse with others. Takata uses the skills he's developed to compensate for his communication deficiencies in order to find the person his son wished to film. When that person displays some relationship challenges with his own son, Takata takes it on himself to establish a connection between the opera singer and his child. In doing so, Takata finally establishes a bridge between himself and his own son.
While the story itself is intriguing, it wouldn't work without amazing acting from all the cast (particularly Ken Takakura as Takata), stunning cinematography, and a lyrical script. All of these elements are present in Zhang's other films, like Hero and Curse of the Golden Flower. It's a clear measure of Zhang's talent that he is able to abandon the historic epic form of those other movies and instead utilize these elements to create an intimate, emotional portrait.
Some viewers may be reluctant to view Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles because all of the dialogue is in Chinese. However, the movie (like its protagonist) transcends language to movingly convey its core emotions. It's rare to find a moving portrayal of such basic emotions in any language, much less a portrayal that is also entertaining. For that reason alone, Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles is a film that deserves a large audience.
| Category: Movies/Videos
| Supporting languages: Chinese, Japanese
Platforms/media types: DVD
Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
DVD Release Date: February 6, 2007
Run Time: 107 minutes
Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
| Actors: Ken Takakura, Kiichi Nakai, Shinobu Terajima, Ken Nakamoto, Jiamin Li
Directors: Yimou Zhang
Writers: Yimou Zhang, Bin Wang, Jingzhi Zou
Yimou Zhang, Jian Xiu, Weiping Zhang, William Kong, Zhenyan Zhang
Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
Language: Portuguese (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French, Portuguese
Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Number of discs: 1
Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)