Film Review: One Child

Article by Monica (Yimeng) Geng

One of China’s worst Catastrophes in the past three decades was the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. Over 90,000 people were killed and thousands of homes were destroyed. The earthquake also took away countless lives of innocent children, leaving their parents hopeless and devastated in a world of ruins.

One of the most heartbreaking scenes after the earthquake was the lives of those childless parents. Since China has the One Child Policy, losing one child in these families means losing their only child. Many of these parents are no longer capable of giving birth, and are facing the horrifying reality that they won’t be taken care of after retirement.

The movie One Child by director Zijian Mu documents the living conditions of these families today and their process of dealing with this tremendous loss. After the earthquake, the Chinese government rebuilt their homes in the shortest time possible. Although these survivors have finally moved into a much better living environment, each family are in 8000 dollars of debt to the government. Thus all of the families carry an enormous amount of financial pressure.

In addition, they are more preoccupied with searching for emotional comfort to fill in the empty space in their childless homes. Some of the younger parents choose to give birth again and put all of their attention on this new child. Some goes on a long path in search of adopting a baby, and some resort to spiritual believes to ease their pain. Although the outcomes vary, the drastic wound in their hearts can never be healed completely.

The Maysles Documentary Center (343 Malcolm X Blvd, New York, NY 10027) is screening the film 7:30 PM on Monday, January 5, 2015. More details: http://maysles.org/mdc/oscar-buzz-one-child.

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