School of Media Studies,
near south overbridge,
Getting Home/Luo ye gui gen
(2006, 97 Minute)
DIRECTOR: Yang Zhang
Producer: Stanley Tong, Er Yang, Zhang Yang
Editor: Yang Hongyu
Screenwriter: Zhang Yang, Wang Yao
Cinematographer: Yu Lik Wai, Lai Yiu Fau
Principal Cast: Zhao Benshan, Hong Qiwen, Song Dandan, Guo Degang, Hu Jun,
Sun Haiying, Xia Yu, Wu Ma
Old Zhao, in his 50's, is a poor migrant worker slaving away inShenzhen, a city near Hong Kong. When his friend and co-worker OldWang dies unexpectedly, Old Zhao decides to bring the dead home.He pretends his companion is just a passed-out drunk, boards across-country coach, and meets a band of armed robbers. Old Zhaotells them to kill him first to take his dead friend's compensation.Moved by his loyalty, the robbers show their respect and leave thebus. Instead of thanking him, the passengers kick Old Zhao and hisdead friend off.Now on the side of the road, Old Zhao tries to flag down a car,pretending Old Wang needs to get to a hospital. After spending a nightat a hotel, Old Zhao finds his traveling money has been stolen. Hebreaks down and weeps. Nevertheless, Old Zhao's determination isnot to be shaken. When he needs money, he uses Old Wang's corpseto pose as a beggar. When he needs to eat, he cries at a stranger'sfuneral to get a free meal. When he needs to hide Old Wang's deathspots, he finds a sympathetic prostitute who puts make up on OldWang.Along his odyssey, Old Zhao meets many different types of Chinesepeople. Just as the hometown is almost in sight, a torrential rain strikesand causes a landslide. Now all Old Zhao has to fight is the nature.When he wakes up in the hospital, he sees himself on TV as a hero. Thefirst thing he has to do is to sneak his dead friend out of the morgue.When he finally arrives in Old Wang's hometown, it's been turned intoa dam. The entire village is now deep underwater. Old Zhao sits downand recalls a scene that occurred not long ago before Old Wang'sdeath...Sitting at the wine shop in Shenzhen, the drunken Old Zhao
complainsto Old Wang about his hard life. His biggest fear is todie away from home. Also drunk, Old Wang tells OldZhao that if Old Zhao dies, he will take Old Zhaohome even if he has to carry the dead body the wholeway.
Director's StatementThis is a real story that happened last year in Chinaand created some controversy when it was reported.A peasant took the corpse of his friend from thecountryside back to his home, just to ensure that hisfriend would be buried properly and wouldn't becomea "hungry ghost." Some could not understand why hedid it, deeming it ridiculous and superstitious.However, others saw the modesty and purity whichhad been lost in the modern cities. Many people weretouched by his story.Even though the theme appears serious and tragic,the film is full of black comedy. We do not stress thesorrow and bitterness of the journey but instead givethe main character a very open and generous view onlife - a peasant overcomes difficulties one by one withwisdom and a sense of humor.It's a road movie as it covers half of China and wemeet different types of Chinese people, all classic andtypical. One thing sure to be included is themagnificent landscapes of China.DirectorZhang Yang graduated from the Director'sDepartment of the Central Theatre Academy. In1997, he directed his first feature Spicy Love Soupwhich was in competition at the Tokyo InternationalFilm Festival and swept all the domestic Chineseawards. His second film Shower (1999) also wenton to win awards at a wide array of festivals inCanada, Spain, Greece, Holland, the UnitedStates, Argentina and Italy. His third featureQuitting (2001) scored at the Chinese box officeand won FIPRESCI Prize at the Stockholm FilmFestival. His fourth film Sunflower (2004) won BestDirector and Best Cinematography at the SanSebastian International Film Festival.