Rating: R for language, disturbing images
Run Time: 1 hour, 52 minutes
The fetid underbelly of fame has never looked uglier than in this unpleasant drama/re-enactment about a seriously disenfranchised Chinese youth and his battle with drugs.
The film focuses on real-life 80s and 90s film star, Jia Hongsheng (played by himself). Jia shot to instant stardom by playing heroes and gangsters in a long string of Chinese B-movies, moving on to the stage version of “The Kiss of the Spider Woman” directed by Zhang Yang (who was compelled to craft and direct this unsettling project).
psychological state was a bad fit with the hard drugs he started experimenting
with in the early 90s. Full of
professional doubt, he sank into despair so deep that he quit acting altogether
and cut himself off from family and friends.
Horrified at their beloved son’s withdrawal and addiction, Jia’s parents
sacrificed their careers, and moved into his
To call this an unflinching portrayal of Jia’s life is a gross understatement. The pain and degradation experienced by Jia’s parents (also played by themselves) is horribly palpable, but it doesn’t stop there. Jia’s schizophrenic behavior, and his blatant disregard for anyone or anything outside himself, establishes such strong character hatred that I found myself praying for Jia’s suicide in order to be spared the remainder of his sordid personal tale.
appreciate the cutting edge artistic movement of