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« Previous gallery2014 Spirit Awards Nominations Winners and Losers
Director: Zijian Mu
Kudos: none yet
Lowdown: Along with "White Earth," which we'll get to in a moment, "One Child" is already an Oscar winner: the two docs picked up Student Academy Awards in May. Zijian Mu's film takes a look at three households aiming to rebuild families in the wake of the devastating 2008 Sichuan earthquake, the deadliest natural disaster in recent Chinese history. But the consequences of the country's one-child policy, implemented in 1979 to alleviate social, economic and environmental problems, are writ large. A number of children — including some 1,500 in the shoddily constructed Beichuan Middle School — were killed in the earthquake, and in many cases the grieving parents are too old to conceive again. The film follows thwarted attempts to adopt, serving as a centralized story of rebuilding a life against the backdrop of socio-political strictures that affect the culture and psyche of a nation.