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March 7, 2008
San Jose Cinequest Film Festival 18
China / Hong Kong
110 Minutes
Yang Zhang

Much like Tommy Lee Jones did in Three Burials..., Zhoa, a poor construction worker tries to fulfill a promise made to his best friend. Return him to his home for burial. What could go wrong?

Two buddies are drinking. One puts his head down on the table while the other one questions his manhood. The guy isn't drunk, he's dead. With $5000 from his construction foreman for burial expenses, Zhoa sets about getting his buddy all the way across China to the Three Gorges area. People respond in many ways to a man piggybacking a dead guy across China. Passengers on a bus are saved by the dead man then repulsed by him, thugs are impressed with the loyalty shown by a friend, truckers are sympathetic and welcome any company, even if one of the travelers is dead. Zhoa, and his rapidly lightening pal, come into contact with all kinds of people as they work there way through cities, towns, farms, construction sights, all the while trying to find a place to sleep that won't upset those around them.

Zhoa never once loses faith in his mission. He never complains, though he wears the same clothes and ratty sneakers on the whole journey. He is robbed, tricked, and ignored, but also helped and cared for. He has an impossible task and many people respond to his refusal to give up. He is carrying a dead guy thousands of miles.

More than just a funny (and it is very funny) travelogue of China, we see the different ways of life there and how they differ from America as well. I noticed an oxcart in every location--getting passed by buses in the city, being used as transportation in the country, plowing on farms. And we definitely see the beauty in both countryside and the people. And we see the determination on Zhoa's face.



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