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Getting Home ( ) is a 2007 Chinese comedy/drama film directed by Zhang Yang and starring Chinese comedian Zhao Benshan. The film is episodic in nature and follows two workers in their 50's, Zhao (Zhao Benshan) and Liu (Hong Qiwen). The film opens when Liu unexpectedly dies after a night of drinking and Zhao decides to fulfill a promise to his friend to get him home beginning a long odyssey from Shenzhen to Chongqing with Liu's corpse on his back. Along the way, Zhao meets a variety of figures, played by several of China's better known character actors.

Getting Home is Zhang Yang's fifth feature film. It was produced by Filmko Entertainment of Hong Kongmarker and the Beijing Jinqianshengshi Culture Media company of the People's Republic of Chinamarker. International sales and distribution was by Fortissimo Films out of Amsterdam.

Getting Home's original title derives from a Chinese proverb meaning "A falling leaf returns to its roots." It is apparently based on a true story.

Cast

  • Zhao Benshan as Zhao a middle-aged worker who decides to carry his late friend home.
  • Hong Qiwen as Liu
  • Song Dandan as the middle-aged homeless woman who sells her blood for money
  • Guo Degang as the ringleader of a gang of thieves who attempts to hold-up the bus Zhao first uses to transport Liu's corpse
  • Hu Jun as the trucker who drives Zhao and Liu a part of the way
  • Xia Yu as the cyclist, a young man attempting to bicycle to Tibet
  • Wu Ma as an elderly wealthy man whom Zhao meets along the way, he is nevertheless lonely despite his riches
  • Liu Jinshan as a thuggish restaurateur
  • Chen Ying and Guo Tao as husband and wife beekeepers who have rejected modern society


Production

Originally entitled Air, Getting Home was financed by Filmko Films and Fortissimo Films and produced by Peter Loehr (of Ming Productions and the Imar Film Company) and Wouter Barendrecht of Fortissimo. This marked the first collaboration between Zhang and Filmko, but the fifth with Fortissimo.

Though the film documents Zhao's journey from Shenzhenmarker to Chongqingmarker, the majority of shooting took place in Yunnanmarker, a Chinese province in the southwest.

Reception

Getting Home had its Western debut in the 2007 Berlin International Film Festival on February 11, 2007, as part of the festival's Panorama series. There it won the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury. Since Berlin, Getting Home has made the rounds in the festival circuit, including Silk Screen Asian American Film Festival, Deauville and the New York Asian Film Festival.

Western critics, meanwhile, have embraced the film, with several noting that while the synopsis recalls the American comedy Weekend at Bernie's, Getting Home far surpasses that film in plot, cast, and drama. One critic notes that the film is "a perfectly pitched and quite heartwarming drama about friendship and promises, with a welcome drop of dark humour." Several magazines, meanwhile, including Variety and that's Beijing praised the performance of Zhao Benshan in particular as "finely calibrated" and "vivid" respectively.

References

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