Wayfaring in the Megacity: Tsai Ming-Liang’s Walker and Lav Diaz’s Melancholia
Wayfaring, traveling on foot, is invested with a social significance depending on the social space of its motivation. Two recent films dwell on the wayfarer’s journey through a particular place and time. Tsai Ming-liang’s film Walker follows a Buddhist monk on a walking meditation through Hong Kong. Three versions of wayfaring—pilgrimage, walking meditation (kinhin) and walking in the city—merge in this 25-minute journey. In Lav Diaz’s eight-hour epic Melancholia, long scenes of walking and wandering compose a postcolonial psychogeography of the Philippines, spanning mountain towns, tribal life, guerilla warfare and sprawling urban territory. The film alternates, in its final hours, between tropical forest and the megacity outskirts. In these long-take sequences, wayfaring testifies to an unresolved conflict inherited from the past.