The story of women soldiers’ participation in the Chinese Communists’ Long March becomes an oral history lesson with a personal touch in affecting docu “Feet Unbound.” Made by Singaporean-born, Oz-based helmer Ng Khee-jin, an ad director making his feature debut, pic follows the journey of 28-year-old photojournalist Elly Zhen Ying as she follows the ill-fated footsteps of the Western Route Army, meeting feisty femme survivors along the way. With its haunting string soundtrack and offbeat approach, Ng’s “Feet” could be arty enough to gain limited theatrical exposure after a long march as fest fodder.
Fed up with her life and career, journo Zhen starts her journey in Sichuan province and travels along the route followed by the Fourth Front Army (later the Western Route Army), one of three groups whose movements comprised the Long March, the Chinese Red Army’s legendary mobilization against the Nationalists during 1934-37. She meets several aged women who recall how they came to fight for the Communists, joined the March, and eventually saw most of their comrades die en route in the northwest. Deft editing creates resonances between past and present, and tech package impresses.