FILM REVIEW: Long Land 長島
Near the land is a small island connected by a long and narrow lane. There is a light keeper living alone in a tall lighthouse. The island and the man seem to be forgotten by the bustling coastal city. The newspaper man is the only one who approaches the island every day…
Director: Liang-Hsin Huang
Review by Jean Wong
An animated short that almost reminds viewers of Pixar’s short films, Long Land (2016) tells an unforgettable tale of companionship. No one seems to ever visit the light keeper in the lighthouse and he spends his days alone. As such, the light keeper always waits for storms to occur as it is the only time people turn to him for help. It is one of the rare times he is able to feel useful, needed and surrounded.
Through interspersing scenes of celebration in the town with the silence over on the island, Long Land does a good job at contrasting the rowdy atmosphere with the remote one that surrounds the light keeper. Even despite the lack of dialogue, the film manages to convey a plethora of emotions through its 2D animation style.
The disparity between the light keeper’s isolated life and the town’s cheery one is also reflected in the choice of colours used. While the lighthouse is depicted with plain, dull colours such as white and grey, vibrant colours like red and blue fill the town’s animation, going along with their festive mood. The light keeper’s loneliness is clearly conveyed to the viewer through such stylistic choices.
Without the use of actual dialogue used in Long Land, there is a lot that the music has to accomplish. Since the focus of the film is not on the music, but instead the story, the simple music employed actually does what it’s supposed to do: amplify the light keeper’s — and thus, the viewer’s — emotions. Therefore, the modest choice of music works well with the film itself. As a short 2D animation film, Long Land was definitely a pleasant work of surprise that surpassed most expectations.
About Kaohsiung Shorts
高雄拍 (Kaohsiung Shorts) aims to make Kaohsiung the Taiwanese short film base, to discover and showcase new short films that break the norms, boundaries and stereotypes through the use of media. Started in 2012 by the Kaohsiung Film Archive, Kaohsiung Shorts is a short film grant that aims to encourage film talents to be based in Kaohsiung and be inspired by the city. Films created under this programme will be having their Taiwan premiere during the Kaohsiung International Film Festival. Since 2015, short films created under the Kaohsiung Shorts have been showcased in other countries such as Hong Kong, France, Japan, Korea and Vietnam.