In the middle of a drinking bout at a party, Zhao’s workmate suddenly dies. Zhao has previously made him a promise and he still intends to keep it. That is to make sure his friend is buried in his hometown. The problem is that it is more than 1,000 miles away and Zhao is broke. Zhao’s tragicomic odyssey, literally speaking with a body on his back, is bittersweet and funny in a liberating sense. Zhao is helpless in many ways, and the result of his project is dependent on the support and help he can get from the people he meets along the way, or to which degree he is subjected to outright sabotage. In this way, Getting Home also becomes a film about the changes in today’s China – a country where it is as likely to meet a first-rate modern Western luxury car as an oxcart along the road.

Director Zhang Yang also utilises the road movie’s possibilities to portray the Chinese landscape and the physical changes inherent in modernisation. An obligatory detour to the gigantic Three Gorges Dam does not feel superfluous. This film conveys the stubbornness, pride and dignity Zhao displays during the execution of his somewhat special project and journey. It is all beautifully filmed, with a lovely musical accompaniment.

Getting Home won the ecumenical jury prize at this year’s film festival in Berlin, as well as the main competition during the Kosmorama festival in Trondheim this year. olr

Original title Luo ye gui gen

Year 2007

Director ZHANG Yang

Screenplay Yao WANG, Yang ZHANG

Cinematography YIU-FAI Lai

Producer Wouter BARENDRECHT, Peter LOEHR

Cast ZHAO Bebshan, HONG Qiwen, SONG Dandan, GUO Degang, HU Jun, SUN Haiying, XIA Yu, WU Ma

Production Company Filmko Pictures

Runtime 1h 50m

Format ??? Print/Format ???

Links IMDb