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 4,147 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 »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:


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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 film was denied the Official Selection berth in Cannes. 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

A ride with Zhang Yimou
27 May 2006 | by (Singapore) – See all my reviews

It has been a long time since Zhang last pull an intimate angle on his film. It feels good to watch a simple story that filled our emotions right to the brim.

If i'm not wrong. this is the first time Zhang focus on MAN's emotion. His protagonist have always been females. (The 2 most famous actress from china - gongli and zhang ziyi is a result of his great foresight.) Zhang Yimou possess a good eye for casting. Both old man and little boy exudes certain stunning charisma that i find them look alike to each other. Both possess a ruggard face that reads hardship and strength. Ironically these man and boy of rock are hit by the softness of kinship. whatever it is, they stand tall in the face of sad history. watching the heart map of a solid MAN like takakura is one of the most touching thing for me. i was moved by the story.

it was so rare to watch the male characters to be dissect by Zhang. When that happens, they are much pale (quiet & reserved) in comparison to the other female characters in zhang's previous film. for me, that is novelty. kudos to zhang for reinventing himself!

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