‘From Tomorrow on, I will’ is a film where observation rewards you. The film is not just about a person randomly wandering through the streets and staring aimlessly. Even while the character meanders without any clear goal, the director-duo seems pretty clear why they’re showing it. Ivan Marković and Wu Linfeng (the directors) – who appear to be largely inspired by Tsai-Ming-Liang’s way of showing alienation, reach a certain amount of empathy in their bleak universe.

From Tomorrow On, I Will” is screening at Viennale

There are plenty of frames showing its protagonist being isolated amidst his milieu, creating a heightened sense of alienation. The film also comes with its share of long takes and static shots which take back again to the same type of slow cinema (dominant in the Asian films). And its narrative doesn’t necessarily get shadowed in the process either. We observe the daily routine of its protagonist- Li (a security guard) going through the film’s cumulative emotional progression. Sharing a small block of an apartment with another migrant worker who has exactly opposite work schedules, Li struggles to keep his mental health stable.

He’s either in the spaces where he’s completely alone like a man on a desolate island or the spaces so cramped up that he can hardly breathe. With that being the case, he constantly fails to find an emotional connection with anyone. Even when he does, he finds the connection in probably the strangest places imaginable (for him). That reminds this security guard of his own pain & ennui which makes it impossible for his soul to look beyond the sad, aloof existence. Not just that, but trying to connect with his roommate’s peers brings him nothing but even more despair. We see a man constantly being pushed into a dark pit-hole even while he’s making efforts to come out of it.

For a tonally dark narrative such as this, the editing of ‘From Tomorrow on I will’ is clever enough to understand how the shifts between sounds and visuals need to come off just like how the protagonist’s mind would perceive it. Placing the viewers in the character’s shoes isn’t inventive in this case. But it builds the necessary emotional graph to empathize with Li’s constant efforts. Shot with immaculate framing, it is hard to miss what the cinematography is aiming to achieve; the plea of a migrant worker who would be just another voice in the countless faces.  

And despite that, the narration feels a little archaic at times. Some of the time, the framing gets so astute that the visual progression starts appearing a little too mechanical. It largely builds on the clichés that have been established in this particular niche of cinema. They also get a little on-the-face at times without an original thought to encapsulate a feeling. This doesn’t make ‘From Tomorrow on, I will’ a bad film. But it takes away a little resonance indeed.