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QUITTING

China, 2001 (MIFF 2003, Regional Focus)

Director: Zhang Yang

Jia Hong Sheng was an emerging film star in the early 90s, nicknamed 'the thug idol' for playing gangsters and heroes in 'B' movies, when he branched out and starred in a stage version of Kiss of the Spider Woman in 1992. However, things soon changed, as his fragile psychological state, combined with a heroin addiction, led to his withdrawal from the outside world. He quit acting, cut himself off from his family and friends and locked himself in his apartment. His parents, concerned for their son's well-being, packed up their belongings and journeyed to Beijing to rescue Jia from his private hell.

One of the many remarkable aspects of this film, from the director of Shower (MIFF 2000), is that Jia Hong Sheng plays himself as the tormented actor. Bringing a level of realism to this docu-drama, Zhang Yang, who was the director of the ill-fated 1992 stage production of Kiss of the Spider Woman, has crafted an astonishing film.

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