Canadian Premiere
Camera Lucida

Journey to the West

Directed by Kong Dashan


Official selection

Best Film - Pingyao International Film Festival 2021
Cinephilia Critics' Prize - Pingyao International Film Festival 2021
International Film Festival Rotterdam 2022


Kong Dashan


Kong Dashan, Roy Wang


Sheng Chenchen, Jiang Chimy, Yang Haoyu, Ai Liya, Roy Wang


Parallax Films

China 2021 118 mins OV Mandarin Subtitles : English
Genre DramaComedyScience-Fiction

The years have worn out Tang Zhijun (Yang Haoyu, DEAD PIGS). Once an inspiration, the editor-in-chief of the country’s foremost space exploration magazine is now a delusional tin-head kook disappointing his staff at every turn. Failing to detect cosmic messages in the static of his TV and unable to keep the heat on in his derelict office, his entire life is a paean to a space age long gone. When he hears of a collective UFO sighting in a remote village called Burning Nest, where an intriguing poet proves to be a prophet, he glimpses a possibility for redemption. Flanked by a cynical staffer, a drunk, and an insomniac groupie, he journeys West to the Daliang Mountains of Sichuan!

One of the great Chinese films of the past few years finally arrives at Fantasia! Sharing the same title as the epic classic of literature, JOURNEY TO THE WEST transposes the iconic quest for Truth to a group of new-age eccentrics fit for the times — going deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole of their own convictions. Unfolding in the great tradition of the workplace mockumentary (think THE OFFICE in a rural Chinese context), Kong’s film is a delightfully deadpan road movie, nostalgic for simpler times yet sensitive to the absurdities of the present moment. Reflecting on recent trends in Chinese science-fiction (Frant Gwo, director of THE WANDERING EARTH, cameos and serves as a tongue-in-cheek executive producer), JOURNEY TO THE WEST offers an alternative to the genre in China, doubling as an ode to idealism and self-discovery — a reminder that to reach for the stars, one must often reach inwards first and foremost. – Ariel Esteban Cayer