In his third feature film, the long walk, Mattie Do from Laos, the country’s only horror filmmaker and director, blends both genre and timeline into one philosophical ghost story.
The film tells the story of a middle-aged hermit (Yannawoutthi Chanthalungsy) who lived a life of regret after the death of his mother. Accompanied by a silent ghost (Noutnapha Soydara), the man learns that he can be transported at the time of his mother’s death, some 50 years earlier. Here he can talk to his younger self (Por Silatsa) in hopes of changing the path his life has taken. As he becomes increasingly obsessed with the course of the past, his actions begin to have an effect on his present.
The less we know about the film, the more they will be rewarded with this slow-paced story, which first premiered at the Venice Film Festival and then at TIFF in 2019.
The long walk almost defies description both in terms of the depth of the story and its overall genre. Above all, it is a deliberately paced exploration of mourning, time and, above all, letting go. Corn Walk is a cinematic ghost story, Do brings us no ghosts to fear. Instead, these spirit guides sit deep in their earthly setting and are captured in appropriate tones of muted greens and browns.
Do herself pointed out that it was about more than “poverty porn”. Born in the United States before moving to Laos, the filmmaker has a lot to say about the socio-economic situation of the country and its people through the literal and metaphorical hauntings of this story. A lo-fi sci-fi rooted in folk horror, the film is set in an unspecified future, where a modicum of futuristic technology left behind by NGOs exists and is part of everyday rural life.
While The long walk may not offer traditional ghost stories, it is nonetheless haunting, and the story will likely leave viewers unsettled by its very nature.
The long walk hits VOD March 1.
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