Chinese director Zhang Yang got some recognition in the U.S. for his previous feature, Shower. His new film, Quitting, is already getting some good reviews by the critics that come across it in the festival circuit, and it’s easy to see why. While the film is not for wide tastes it will certainly reward the discerning fan of international films. Quitting re-enacts the family life of Jia Hongsheng, the young male star of the new Chinese cinema, as he deals with drug addiction, depression, and possibly even schizophrenia. What makes this endeavor especially fascinating is that the characters are played by their real-life counterparts. Occasionally, the camera moves back to reveal the actors/subjects on a stage, thus removing the filmic illusion of the omniscient perspective. But, as testimony to the power of this film, this post-modern reminder doesn’t distract one whit from the performances on hand.
published January 23, 2002