CHINA / 2002 / Chinese / Color / Video / 49 min
Director, Photography, Editing: Sha Qing
Producers, Source: Sha Qing, Ji Dan
In a rural village a father holds his son, who suffers from cerebral palsy. The son can’t talk, but moves his foot in response to his father’s words, and they communicate. The mother is the family’s sole breadwinner and works in a hospital far away, but they cannot afford the cost of surgery. The son is becoming weaker, and the family and village watch over him helplessly. Each carefully shot image and the restrained editing convey far more than what appears on screen, and will move you to tears.
[Directors Statement] Lei Xiguan has had cerebral palsy since early childhood, and communicates with others using his foot. Far from being shut off from the love of his family, however, he in fact seems to experience greater warmth and joy of family life than do most healthy children.
Cut off from society and from people in general, however, and having to witness the suffering of their child, their own flesh and blood, the despair of his peasant parents begins to grow.
As their child’s sickness worsens, they reject the advice of others around them to just give up on him in order to release him from suffering. Instead, they choose to stay and bear with their child, together by his side.
This film does not aim to solely portray the difficulties that these people face. Moreover, I hope to have captured the strength, perseverance, pride and above all, beauty with which they lead their lives. It is as though the wellspring of their heart never dries up. It is a supreme joy of life inspiring life, which neither poverty, sickness nor death can come close to taking away.
Born in Beijing, China in 1965. In collaboration with producer Ji Dan, made the documentary Gongbo’s Happy Life, shown at the 2000 Taiwan International Documentary Festival and the 2003 Yunnan Multi Culture Visual Festival. The Elders was screened at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam in 1999, the Margaret Mead Film and Video Festival in 2000, the Taiwan International Ethnographic Film Festival in 2001, and the Yunnan Multi Culture Visual Festival in 2003. Wellspring won the grand prize at the Yunnan Multi Culture Visual Festival in 2003.
• New Asian Currents | Sand and Water | Wellspring | Three-Five People | Homesick | The Circle’s Corner | The Maze of Lanes | Nee Engey—Where Are You | NEW (IMPROVED) DELHI—Director’s Cut | A Night of Prophecy | 150 Seconds Ago | The Ballad of Life | Noah’s Ark | The Old Man of Hara | Dandelion | Hibakusha—At the End of the World | 3rd Vol.2—2 Light House | And Thereafter | Dust Buries Sabuk | Family Project: House of a Father | Edit | Gina Kim’s Video Diary | Ordo | Her and Him Van Leo | The Big Durian | Perpetual Motion | Debris | Hard Good Life | Nail | The Rhythm in Wulu Village | A Short Journey • Jurors | Kim Dong-won | Kawase Naomi • New Asian Currents Special | Part 1 | Part 2