Humanity often impresses us through its expansive character, through its diversity and nevertheless through its emotional response. In ‘Long Yearning‘ director Elliot Spencer explores the exact reverse of it. Taking the shape of an experimental documentary, the film looks into the social details of the greatest economy on earth: China. Endless mechanised work of labourers numbs humanity suppressing emotion and replacing it with one purpose only – production!
Love is an intangible ideal and when it occurs it becomes a retreat from this urbanised industrialised chaos in which nature and joy seem to have lost their priority. The artificial is taking over in brilliantly framed verticals, diagonals and horizontals in a deconstructing world. Evolution is at halt. A strange feeling of desolation emerges as people bathing in a sea of algae shape a surreal world of contradictory feelings of crushed beauty and yearning for joy where there is too little to find. As if spirit was unable to process joy anymore and had lost the concept, people look silly having fun in the sea of green sea weed.
Old ancient poetry crosses the centuries echoing through them into the present like voices from the past that gain opposed valencies to their initial quest and goal. They no more speak about the fascinating power of greatness and harmony with the heavens but in change they sound alienating and sometimes absurd like too long of a yearning to remember its reason. An economical homogeneity camouflaging a segregated society and an individual solitary with his work, dominated by a mechanical redundancy, a reflex in the face of which time itself feels conquered and turned finite.
With an outstanding visual composition, Elliot Spencer’s experimental-documentary impresses through its ability of detaching from any personal involvement of the camera and chooses instead to offer an overview from the margin. The excerpts from the traditional Chinese poetry have a strange effect of uncovering the deep sensorial dormant kernel of a culture celebrating its conquest over the material but nebulous about the values that once used to supply its identity.
‘Long Yearning’ is one of the most intense experimental cinematic experiences we’ve had the luck to witness lately.