Gao Jun, the child featured in "The Blood of Yingzhou District," does not speak a word until the closing minutes of the film. Little is known about him, not even his age. Yet this young AIDS orphan reveals his ferocious resolve to live while his extended family weighs whether or not to keep him. The documentary tells the story of traditional Chinese obligations of family and village colliding with terror of infection, and how these forces play out in the lives of children in the remote villages of Anhui. Framing the film is Gao Jun's search for a family to call his own.Written by
What is the worse fate for a child, to be infected with HIV and dying a slow death or to be completely by ostracized by family and friends who are too afraid of contracting the disease? In one very poor district in China many children have lost both parents to AIDS. Poverty led the parents to selling their blood and the clinic simply removed the plasma, mixed the cells from several donors and gave them back to the individuals. With parents dead, children are left to fend for themselves - even close relatives are afraid of social ostracism for themselves and their families and will not be seen with these kids.
Particularly heartrending is the story of Gao Jun - a toddler who is cared for by his mentally unstable grandmother.. Eventually she dies and the child is locked away with a pig and three chickens for company. Traumatized, he is unable to talk and you see him wandering around aimlessly in his backyard. The plight of that kid made me want to rail at the vagaries of fate and scream at the cruelty of human beings. The stories of two other sets of children are folded in. The theme is the same - due to complete illiteracy and lack of knowledge of how AIDS spreads, people want to have nothing to do with these kids.
A charitable organizations steps in and tries to find a home for Gao Jun in another HIV positive family. After a period of happiness he starts to deteriorate and the family is unable to keep him, so he is moved again...
One is left with a sense of utter desolation and the feeling that this cannot be happening in China - a country that considers itself a super power and a legitimate player in the high stakes game of world politics. The disconnect between the apparent wealth and consumerism one sees in the large centers and the pitiable condition and lack of social services in rural areas is stunning.
The film is not for the faint of heart...
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