Every culture has its myths, legends and ghosts. Good and bad spirits which either help or hinder the hapless human who stumbles into their path. These creatures usually reflect the societies which they inhabit. Where there has been a tragedy or trauma, they often act as a mirror or conduit for guilt or recriminations of those around them. Stuck in limbo and unable to reach their final destination. In The Long Walk, a ghost helps a man try and fix his past.
There is an old Laotian farmer (Yannawoutthi Chanthalungsy) who is purported to be able to speak to the dead. Guilt and regret are tearing him apart until he discovers a way to put everything right and prevent his mother’s suffering. He does this with the aid of a ghost in the shape of a girl (Noutnapha Soydara), whose hand he held as she died fifty years ago. She connects him with a young boy (Por Silatsa) so he can make amends.
The Long Walk requires a great deal of concentration and the lilting pace will not be for everyone, but patience will be rewarded with a quietly profound and subtly moving experience. Mattie Do’s film plays with time, space, the supernatural to tell the story of a man prepared to do anything for redemption. It’s a beautiful and haunting film. One which plays with the spectres of Laos’ past and present. The Long Walk is a captivating and intriguing work of cinema which will stay with you long after the credits roll.
The Long Walk in available on Digital Download in the UK from 28 February.