Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Xiuling Chai, Fengsen Jia, Hongshen Jia, Tong Wang, Shun Xing
Director: Yang Zhang
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Music Video & Concerts
This award-winning Chinese film is unlike any other you've seen: a true-life story that's enacted by the real-life participants but is not a documentary in any traditional sense. Not only did the young actor Jia Hongsheng ... more »
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Member Movie Reviews
Mark D. (Zakary10) from SHORELINE, WA
Reviewed on 12/12/2010...
My wife is from Chongqing and actually knew one of the characters in this film. It is a good, but far from great film. It is interesting and more so because you know that all the people in it are playing themselves.
Compassionate piece about recovering from drug addiction
(5 out of 5 stars)
"First, it is hard to believe that the characters in the film are the real people involved in this tale of a man's real-life struggle with heroin addiction. Zhang Yang has done an incredible job with the film's cinematography, often drawing back from the aesthetics of a televised production to portray the work in a theatrical stage setting. This technique is effective in reminding me that these actors are truly the people involved in this drama. Jia Hongsheng does an incredible job of playing a selfish, vain, obsessive man afflicted with the disease of addiction. It is easy to feel his pain, and to also relate to his emotional turbulences. He finds peace through music, and immerses himself in the Beatles while he is unable to communicate with his family and the outside world. Jia's parents and his sister do a great job supporting him in this film, most notably his father as he struggles with the realization of his own alcoholism. This movie is beautiful, poetically created and emotionally acted out. The glimpse that we have into a real family's struggles is both tragic and liberating, reminding me of my own family dysfunctions, and of the hope for recovery."
A Compelling and Unusual Film About Addiction
dreadful light | Nicholasville, KY United States | 07/23/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When actor Jia Hongsheng's parents found out that he was suffering from drug addiction, they retired early from their own acting careers and moved to Beijing to give him all their support and love. So begins this amazing film about a real life actor's struggle with heroin, the scorn he felt for the world around him, and the valiant efforts his family made to save him. What makes this film even more compelling is the fact that everyone (parents, friends, and mental hospital patients included) plays themselves. It is apparent that some of these scenes (particularly the ones revealing Jia's rudeness and cruelty to his father) were painful for the cast to re-enact. Their courage in telling this story is what makes "Quitting" exceptional. The scene in which Jia's father painstakingly attempts to buy Jia a Beatles cassette tape, while never quite understanding the name of the band (and knowing that there will never be a word of thanks for his trouble), alone shows the incredible amount of love these parents had for their son. Despite his family's loyalty and support, it becomes evident that the only one that can heal Jia is himself. The journey is one he takes alone, while in a mental hospital. I recommend that everyone see this film."
Jia Hongsheng full of himself?
melisser | Boston, MA | 02/23/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Maybe I'm reading into this too much, but I wonder how much of a hand Jia Hongsheng had in developing the film. I mean, when a story is told casting the main character as himself, I would think he would be a heavy hand in writing, documenting, etc. and that would make it a little biased in his favor.
But, his family and friends also may have had a hand in getting the actual details about Hongsheng's life. I think the best view would have been told from Hongsheng's family and friends' perspectives. They saw his transformation and weren't so messed up on drugs that they remember everything.
As for Hongsheng being full of himself, the consistencies of the Jesus Christ pose make him appear as a martyr who sacrificed his life (metaphorically, of course, he's obviously still alive as he was cast as himself) for his family's happiness. Huh? Exactly.
The viewer sees him at his lowest points while still maintaining a superiority complex. He lies on the grass coming down from (during?) a high by himself and with his father, he contemplates life and has visions of dragons at his window, he celebrates his freedom on a bicycle all while outstretching his arms, his head cocked to one side.
It's fabulous that he's off of drugs now, but he's no hero. He went from a high point in his career in acting to his most vulnerable point while on drugs to come back somewhere in the middle.
This same device is used in Ted Demme's "Blow" where the audience empathizes with the main character who is shown as a flawed hero.
However, "Quitting" ("Zuotian") is a film that is recommended, mostly for its haunting soundtrack, superb acting, and landscapes. But, the best part is the feeling that one gets when what we presume to be the house of Jia Hongsheng is actually a stage setting for a play. It makes the viewer feel as if Hongsheng's life was merely a play told in many straining and difficult parts."