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A deeply thought provoking and emotionally confronting look at some the people affected by, or tasked with enforcement of China's one child policy established in 1979. The narrative is mostly driven by the film maker's recollections of her experience, and interviews with her family and others in the area where she grew up.
Excellent film making, use of imagery, narration and examination of a number of different perspectives. Very sensitively approaching the subject, she was able to gently yet persuasively coax some truly shocking admissions of guilt from some of her interviewees. Be prepared for some awful images, but thankfully these scenes are not dwelt on for long as macabre voyeurism was not the intent, but to solidly make the point of what happened to many babies. The story told indicates that the one-child policy was implemented in a harsh, cruel, uncompromising and unforgiving way, although it seems the government eventually recognised the need to protect and find new homes via international adoption programmes for babies that were abandoned by their parents trying to avoid the harsh penalties that they would face.
The only criticism is that there is not much in the way of analysis of the reasons that led up to the point of the introduction of the policy in China. This was hinted at by interviews with her mother, but not much else. For an example of a country that should have, but hasn't introduced population control measures, take a look at India. There, they have well over 100 million people enduring appalling, squalid, miserable poverty and hundreds of millions more struggling daily to eke out a meagre existence. Religious dogma and lack of understanding about environmental impact regarding unrestrained human reproduction are at least partly to blame for the coming crisis of over-population in most parts of the world. If the human race is to avoid large scale wars over food, water and climate change induced migration in the next 30 years, then global population controls need to be carefully introduced and incentivised, but not the way the PRC did it.
Seen at NZIFF Wellington by a parent of one child.
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