Quitting

  • 104'
  • China
  • 2001
The first time Jia Hongsheng tried heroin was in 1992. At the time he was appearing on stage in Beijing as the drag queen in Kiss of the Spiderwoman. Soon after, he played the artist who performs faked suicides in Wang Xiaoshuai's Frozen. His next screen role came around six years later, when he played the motorcycle courier Mardar in Lou Ye's Suzhou River.During those 'missing' years he became a junkie recluse, obsessed with Beatles music and convinced that he was John Lennon's son. He picked fights with his friends, losing them one by one. His parents moved to Beijing to try to cure him, naively underestimating how badly an addict can behave; they eventually had him committed to a mental hospital.Zhang Yang directed that production of Spiderwoman nearly ten years ago, and considers Jia a close friend. He has seen him go to hell and come back. After considering various fictionalisations of Jia's story, he has decided to tell it straight.Quitting is a docudrama in which Jia, his immediate family and his friends play themselves in a reconstruction of his time as an addict. Zhang allows himself the odd flourish in his visual rhetoric, but keeps the film grounded in real, lived experience. Never flinching from Jia's worst excesses, it tells his story with enough detachment to see him in the round: a talented, screwedup actor, a gentle, fallible man. Tony Rayns
Director
Zhang Yang
Country of production
China
Production Year
2001
Festival Edition
IFFR 2002
Length
104'
Medium
35mm
Language
Mandarin
Producers
Imar Film Co. Ltd, Xi'an Film Studio, Peter Loehr
Sales
Fortissimo Films
Screenplay
Zhang Yang
Cinematography
Wang Yu