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Getting Home (Amazon.com Exclusive)


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Product Details

  • Language: Mandarin Chinese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • ASIN: B003QT5Y12
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa77b9cd8) out of 5 stars 22 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa808e9c0) out of 5 stars Entertaining & enlightening Jan. 16 2012
By Clef Qian - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I very much enjoyed this film of contemporary China as seen through the trials and tribulations of a 50-year old migrant worker called Lao Zhao ("Old Zhao"). He works in construction in the megalopolis of Shenzhen in southern coastal China. When his co-worker dies, Lao Zhao attempts to fulfill a promise to bring him back home to his family in Sichuan province in the interior. The plot of "Getting Home" was apparently based on a true story. The Chinese title derives from the saying, "A falling leaf returns to its roots."

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.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa776b00c) out of 5 stars Great film! March 8 2012
By thordog - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
This is a must see film that easily found a place on my faves list. Beautiful cinematography of rural China paired with a compelling story and outstanding performance by Zhao Benshan make for a film that is simultaneously sweet, sad and funny. Lao Zhao's perseverance and plucky optimism in the face of adversity is uplifting and a lesson in finding joy in the small victories in life. After 5 years I'm surprised that it's still not available on Netflix when clearly it's available for purchase. I've caught it myself a couple times on IFC over the past couple of years.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa7855dc8) out of 5 stars Magnificent Jan. 3 2014
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
This gem of a film offers so much - quirky characters, touching examples of ordinary people taking care of each other in extraordinary ways, slapstick comedy all amidst a journey into modern working class China. The settings of the film are ordinary enough ( a bus, a truck, a soup kitchen, etc) but in a sense the struggle is Odyssean - to return to one's home surmounting challenge after challenge only to discover that it is no more (thanks to the gargantuan 3 Gorges Project) but yet to continue the effort. A universal theme so creatively expressed in this film.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa7748a8c) out of 5 stars "Gettig Home" is exceptional March 16 2013
By Northeast Cape Man - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is a terrific movie. The story with its many captivating sub-stories is very touching and the acting is exceptional.

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."
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa76a3eb8) out of 5 stars very well done May 30 2014
By whatisknown - Published on Amazon.com
a sentimental comedy about the adventures of a man bring his dead friend home. many surprises along the way. you kind of want our friend to accomplish his mission. a surprise ending. to fully understand the journey one should know something about modern China. a good representation of this. I thought one of the best parts was the story about the scavenger women and her university son. so true!

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