LACONIA — The Laconia Human Relations Committee in cooperation with the Laconia Public Library presents Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles, Monday, March 3 at 6:30 p.m. This is another presentation as part of the International Film Series shown monthly at the Laconia Public Library.
Gouichi, a Japanese fisherman has not been on good terms with his son, Kenichi, ever since Gouichi’s wife died many years ago. The son is a Japanese filmmaker. Gouichi learns that his son is now dying of liver cancer and travels to Tokyo to see him. Kenichi, still angry that his father left him for a remote fishing town in a northern province to escape the reality of his mother's death, refuses to see his father.
Kenichi's wife gives her father-in-law a video tape made by Kenichi so that Gouichi may learn more about his son. The tape contains footage of Li, a Chinese artist, from a village in Yunnan province of China. In the video tape, Li promised Kenichi to perform the opera, Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles, for him if he returns the next year. Gouichi, wanting to know his son better, decides to go to China in his sick son's place to film Li's performance.
After many days of difficult travel in China, Gouichi arrives in Li’s Village only to learn that Li has been imprisoned for assaulting someone who insulted his illegitimate son. After much trouble attaining clearances Gouichi gains entry to the prison facility to visit Li. However, Li breaks down in tears and is unable to perform as he misses his son so badly. Gouichi decides to travel to Stone Village where Li’s son lives who has never met his father.
The travels and difficulties of bringing Li and his son together match the difficulties that Gouchi has had in reconciling with his son. Superb photography of the desert areas of western China are brought to life in the travels of Gouchi. Chinese rural life away from urban areas can still be found in this 2005 film that has won foreign film awards.