Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles (2005)
"Qian li zou dan qi" (original title)

PG  |   |  Drama  |  22 December 2005 (China)
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 4,144 users   Metascore: 73/100
Reviews: 53 user | 70 critic | 21 from Metacritic.com

A Japanese father travels to China's Yunnan province in the place of his ailing son to film a famous folk-opera star.



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Cast overview:
Gou-ichi Takata
Shinobu Terajima ...
Rie Takata
Ken-ichi Takata (voice)
Ken Nakamoto ...
Jiamin Li ...
Li Jiamin
Jiang Wen ...
Lin Qiu ...
Li Bin Li ...
Director Li (as Bin Li)
Ziliang Chen ...
Warden Chen
Zezhou He ...
Village Chief
Zhenbo Yang ...
Yang Yang


In a village of fishermen in Japan, Takata misses his son Kenichi, to whom he has been estranged for many years. When his daughter-in-law Rie tells him that Kenichi is sick in the hospital, she suggests Takata to come to Tokyo to visit his son in the hospital where he would have the chance to retie the relationship. However, Kenichi refuses to receive his father in his room, and Rie gives a videotape to Takata to know about the work of his son. Once at home, Takata sees a documentary in the remote village Lijiang, in the province of Younnan, about the passion of Kenichi, the Chinese opera, where the lead singer Li Jiamin promises to sing an important folk opera on the next year. When Rie calls Takata to tell that her husband has a terminal liver cancer, Takata decides to travel to Lijiang to shoot Li Jiamin singing the opera to give to Kenichi. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for mild thematic elements | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

22 December 2005 (China)  »

Also Known As:

Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$7,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$18,314 (Hong Kong) (7 April 2006)


$251,585 (USA) (12 January 2007)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The scenes filmed in Japan were directed by Yasuo Furuhata. He has had a long successful collaboration with lead actor Ken Takakura. See more »


In the village scene Mr. Takata has to move to the highest location to make a phone call. In the following scene however he can receive phone calls while at a banquet in the lower part of the village. See more »

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User Reviews

Cultural Differences
16 June 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

In this film, Zhang Yimou portrays the stark difference between Japanese and Chinese culture without succumbing to biased tendencies. Among the numerous cultural differences, perhaps the greatest visual distinction would be the colorful masses of China against the gray, solitude of Japan. The audience becomes aware of these contrasts as Takata, a Japanese father sets out on a journey to China in hopes of improving his estranged relationship with his son who is dying from liver cancer. Through his travels Takata comes to a greater understanding about life, himself, and his son's interest with the Chinese culture, especially the folk operas.

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