Those lucky enough to catch Long Day’s Journey Into Night at Tyneside Cinema back in January will know that Bi Gan is one of the most exciting filmmakers out there. Conflating film noir, dream logic and technical bravado, Long Day’s Journey was both a visually spectacular, neon-drenched gumshoe tale and a free-form wander through the memories of its central character. And its one hour long 3D closing sequence (filmed in one incredible unborken take) was a tour de force moment matching anything in recent film history.
Luckily for us Bi Gan’s debut Kaili Blues is available on Prime, and also comes highly recommended. Like Long Day’s Journey, it’s set in Bi Gan’s home city of Kaili, and also involves a search for a missing person. Here a doctor named Chen decides to fulfill his mother’s dying wish by hitting the road in search of his brother’s missing son. The resulting road trip through South West China is littered with encounters with characters who may or may not be from Chen’s gangster past. A meditation on time and place (the locations are spectacular) with a constant air of mystery and one incredible, 40-minute set piece, Kaili Blues one of the great modern debuts, from a filmmaker who was just 25 at the time.
Kaili Blues is available to watch for free on Amazon Prime