Chinese, 2010/01

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May Day 五月一天
Ma Zhandong 馬占東

When the earthquake struck on May 12th 2008, Zhu Xiaorong was in the county seat of her home region of northern Sichuan. Her husband Deng Eclipse of the Godsng, who was working outside the region, was out of danger; their child, however, never returned from school. This documentary records the life of Zhu Xiaorong's family during the year following the quake. 

From the relief tents to the temporary shelter of wooden shacks, these parents who have lost their only son seem to carry on as if nothing had happened. They deal with the people and situations around them with the unique approach to life that is characteristic of the Sichuanese. Zhu Xiaorong's younger brother, her only male sibling, also died in the earthquake, and this has dealt an enormous blow to Zhu's father. Luckily Zhu's husband married into his wife's family—a small comfort for a family that has lost two male members. 

As it often is in China, the Zhu family or the other ten million families living within the disaster zone don't have any time to feel miserable. As daily life goes back to normal, many survivors leave the disaster area to find work, but others like the Zhu family stay home. Now landless and of limited education and skills, they stay close to relatives and are reluctant to leave. The disaster has made them value what little they have more than anyone. 

Like all the mothers that have lost a child in the earthquake, Zhu Xiaorong is eager to have another one. A new life is the beginning of all future.



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