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Yi shou yaogun shang yueqiu (2013)

Six dads of terminally ill children form a rock band called "Sleepy Dads". With an average age of 52, they aim to to hit the stage of the highly competititve Sea Music Festival. For this ... See full summary »

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Six dads of terminally ill children form a rock band called "Sleepy Dads". With an average age of 52, they aim to to hit the stage of the highly competititve Sea Music Festival. For this old, amateur band, it is as difficult as the Apollo missions to the moon. Nonetheless, these fathers show no fear because they already lead their daily lives on the edge. (Mandarin with English subtitles)

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4 October 2013 (Taiwan)  »

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Rock Me to the Moon  »

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Touching documentary on great parents with special children
11 December 2013 | by (Hong Kong) – See all my reviews

This is the second documentary from Taiwan which got my eyes moist. The first one is "The Grand riders" with several seniors aged average at 81 to motorbike around the island. Watching both make me think Taiwan is filled with big-hearted people.

Taking six years into making, Rock Me to the Moon moves around six fathers, age averaged at 52, all with children with rare diseases which consumed their energies and drained their emotions. But these men use unparalleled patience and love to take care of their children while working full time to support the family.

The film starts with them appearing at a rock festival on the beach, then traces back four years to describe how they have started: in a group for parents of children with rare disease. Usually mothers do most of the work and some members think if they have a band, they may get the men involved. So they get help from a real rock singer and start a band with two hour practice per week. Some of them have never even touched any musical instruments before!

Quite a lengthy portion of the film is on how these fathers learn to play in a band. But the moving part was how these parents take care of their sick children – some of them have more than one child who needs special care, how they cope with their daily lives and how they feel about their situation.

Men generally do not express their emotions very well but in this film we see how candidly they expose their inner feelings, pain, as well as hope. They never give up or feel bitter with themselves. These men and their wives are strong and gentle at the same time. You just cannot help but admire their perseverance, optimism and practicality while maintaining a unique sense of humor.

The contrast is strong when a newscast in the documentary reported that a father like them killed himself after killing his sick child. The pressure could be mounting to deal with, especially when facing it alone.

Hence the band practice proves to be a valuable occasion for them to vent, yell and take a break from the mundane and monotonous yet endless struggle. They can be free for a short period of time every week.

They were trying to sign up for a competitive rock festival but unfortunately failed even after several public performances. However, they keep on practicing weekly and holding concerts. Like one of the dads said, they value the process, not the end result. Perhaps that echoes their care for their children – that the children may not outlive them but as long as they are around, the parents want to provide children with good memories which they can also use in their future. Really amazing what human can do to their offspring.

Even if you are a parent I guarantee you will be hats off to them. If you plan to be a parent, go see it and be prepared for any sacrifice you may have to make. Even if you have no plans to be a parent, see it and be grateful for your parents. May we all be more understanding and patient with our and others' loved ones.


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