Getting home

home3Old Zhao (played by Zhao Benshan) is one of millions of rural workers to make money as temporary hires in China’s big cities; his home is on the bank of Yang Tzu River where the residents are to be relocated because of the dam project to flood the area; he works in the City of Shanzhen, next to Hong Kong, as a construction worker until his fellow native dies and he has to “take him home” as they have promised one another.


A woman vagrant and scavenger (played by Song Dandan) lives alone in a southern city where her son attends a university; she supports her son’s college education by recycling garbage and by selling her blood; she is treated with contempt even by her son who feels ashamed by the fact that she is a scavenger; upon meeting Old Zhao, she decides to be with him for the rest of her life.

home19A lonely truck driver, estranged by his one time girlfriend who left him for another man; he feels as though there is nothing to live for other than being a long distance transportation truck drive, which is how he meets her in the first place. She said that they’d meet again after he drives 250,000 miles; and that is what he is left to do, knowing full well they would never meet again. Emotionally wounded, he has a bad temper and doesn’t trust people easily.

home4An old man in his 80s, with some money and modest means but without any close friends and relatives;  he is lonely and spends his money on a elaborate funeral for himself so that he can enjoy something he would not be able to after he is dead; he lays himself in a coffin as the paid mourners go past the coffin, howling and crying out his names in tears; he helps Old Zhao out by giving him a cart to carry the corpse of his friend;

home2A gang leader of a group of armed highway robbers; he once betrayed his friends in crime and they tabooed “phony pal” on his back; he didn’t see anyone who would not betray his friends for money until he meets Old Zhao unwilling to give him the money he believes belongs to his dead friend. The act of loyalty on the part of Old Zhao moves the gang leader, and he decides to return the spoils back to everyone on the bus as a gesture of goodwill and his admiration for Old Zhao.

home5A young urbanite in his 20s who has not done anything he wants to do from start to finish; tormented by his own lack of resolve and steadfastness, he decides to bike his way from Shanghai all the way to Tibet to celebrate his twentieth birthday; he seems totally immune to the hard life that many migrant workers lead whom he meets on the way because he lives in a bobble of bourgeois lifestyle and luxury.

home13A hair salon beautician from Northeastern China, now working in southern China to make a living. She misses home and tries to live an honest life; but often her customers make unwanted sexual advances to her because of her profession often taken as a thin veil over sexual solicitation or prostitution;

home11A policeman concerned with the wellbeing of the beautician, especially after he learns that there has been a murder case and a manhunt for the murderer on the run. He feels the need to drop by her salon to check in on her to see if she is safe and sound. He later confesses to Old Zhao when giving him a ride that he is quite affectionate with her and would like to do more to protect her.

home7A crooked restaurant owner who overcharges his unsuspecting customers by extortion. He restaurant sells nothing more than fish, pork and poultry, yet he tells his customers after they finish eating that he has served delicacies from the wild. When realizing that Old Zhao has paid him with fake money, he threatens to call cops to have him arrested.


home9home10A bee keeper traveling with his wife from one place to another to harvest and sell honey; he used to be a factory worker but decides to quit his steady job because his wife becomes disfigured in an accident. The bee keeping business is their choice of life style because the couple can be away from the crowds often not very friendly or kind to those with scarred appearances.