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Getting Home (Luo Ye Gui Gen) - Amazon.com Exclusive
In this soulful and humane comedy, Zhao, a middle-aged construction worker, struggles to fulfill a dying co-worker's last wish to be buried in China's Three Gorges region. Setting out with his colleague's body in tow, Zhao travels hundreds of miles across extraordinary countryside, encountering a number of colorful adventures and characters– and even discovering love in some unlikely quarters.
Director Zhang Yang's humorous and moving tale of friendship offers a powerful, and sometimes slapstick, commentary on the value of community and human connectivity in modern China.
"Simply put, 'Getting Home' is one of the best Chinese films of the year. The latest effort from Zhang Yang, who previously delighted viewers with the likes of Shower, it sees the Sixth Generation director continuing his rich vein of form with another honest tale of ordinary people."
"If there are films that can capture the loyalty of friendship while still making death seem comical and light-hearted, Zhang Yang's 'Getting Home', most certainly would make that list."
–Asia Pacific Arts, UCLA
Getting Home is an official selection of the prestigious, award-winning Global Lens Collection presented by the Global Film Initiative. In Mandarin with English subtitles.
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The premise of Getting Home, a gently mordant comedy from the Chinese director Zhang Yang, is halfway between As I Lay Dying and Weekend at Bernie's....The picaresque tale, which won a jury award at the 2007 Berlin International Film Festival, combines the social commentary almost inevitable in a contemporary Chinese film....with a canny Western-style whimsicality. --Mike Hale, The New York Times
A debt of friendship turns into a life-changing experience for a Chinese working-class stiff in Zhang Yang's Getting Home, a road movie-cum-gentle comedy of manners that packs an emotional punch in its final reels. Topped by a finely calibrated, strait-faced [performance] by Mainland stage comedian Zhao Benshan, and marbled with en-route cameos by some of China's best character actors, pic is a feast of acting as well as an on-the-nose portrait of modern Chinese provincial life in all its absurdities. --Derek Elley, Variety
Simply put, Getting Home is one of the best Chinese films of the year. The latest effort from Zhang Yang, who previously delighted viewers with the likes of Shower, it sees the Sixth Generation director continuing his rich vein of form with another honest tale of ordinary people. --James Mudge, Beyond Hollywood
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The film is both comic (with black humor involving the transport and preservation of a corpse) and sad. When the film opens, Lao Zhao thinks his friend has passed out at a cafe, but in fact he has died. The main character is never daunted. No matter what hardship he encounters en route to getting his friend to his native place, he perseveres. He feels joy in small victories, such as beating a water buffalo in a foot race or finding a tire that he can use. Lao Zhao reminds one of a modern-day Ah-Q, a fictional character by Lu Xun, one of the most important Chinese writers of the 20th century.
Lao Zhao changes the lives of those he meets. One of the characters is played by the eminent Wu Ma (the rapping drunken Daoist in "A Chinese Ghost Story"). His love interest is played by Song Dandan, a well-known stage comedienne (leader of the female rebels in "House of Flying Daggers"). All the cops who figure in the film seem to be kind and sincere, which perhaps is wishful thinking. One would like to think that the message of the film is that the good are rewarded and that Lao Zhao will carry on, but the ending is not conclusive and the future uncertain, which may in itself leave room for debate.
Zhao Benshan portrayed a similarly decent but unlucky fellow in Zhang Yimou's tragi-comedy "Happy Times" (2000). In "Getting Home"'s informative special features, including interviews with the director and cast, Zhao Benshan explains that he had no difficulty acting the part in Getting Home because much of his life paralleled that of Lao Zhao. He was born in 1958 in Liaoning province in northeast China into a peasant family and evidently orphaned in childhood, when he began to learn traditional performing arts.
It is revealed in the film that Lao Zhao is from the northeast, based upon his accent and feeling of connection to those speaking the same dialect. Shenzhen was the first Special Economic Zone established in China as part of Deng Xiaoping's economic reforms launched in the late 1970s after the death of Mao. China has major internal migration, especially from the less developed west and center to the industrialized coast.
The director, Zhang Yang (b. 1967) is considered one of the Sixth Generation of major filmmakers. The son of a film director, he graduated from the prestigious Central Academy of Drama. He uses a realistic style and focuses on ordinary people and their lives. He was acclaimed for the comedy-drama "Shower" (1999) about a family-run bathhouse in Beijing with a mentally-challenged son and another who has gone to make his fortune in Shenzhen. This film was followed by "Quitting" (2001) about an actor's struggle with drugs, played by the actor himself, his family, and inmates at a mental institution all playing themselves.
"Getting Home" is entertaining and good for understanding issues of contemporary Chinese economy, society, government, and culture, as well as for gorgeous landscapes of rural China. I plan to show the film to my college class; it would also be appropriate for younger kids.
I watch very few movies. After having seen a small part of "Getting Home" on Link TV I knew I wanted to see all of it. And when I told My family and friends about a movie, they knew it was exceptional and they wanted to watch it also. All of us have enjoyed "Getting Home."