Children of the Stars
produced by Alexander Haase | directed by Rob Aspey |
original language in Chinese and English | with English and German subtitles | narration in English and German |
China | 2007 | 50 min | DVC Pro | Avid Adrenaline
There are hundreds of thousands of families in China who are affected by autism. These families often face a desperate situation. They have little or no knowledge of autism and do not know how to teach or cope with their child. They are also largely excluded by a society that does not understand or accept them. Furthermore, in China there is not a social security system, therefore financial hardships are a major additional burden.
The documentary ˇ°Children of the Starsˇ± focuses on the Feng Jia Wei family. Their five year old boy is autistic. He cannot speak and is often very violent. He has been rejected from all their local schools and does not seem to even recognise his parents. As a family, they frequently receive verbal abuse from people who do not understand their son's behaviour. The career of both parents has also been destroyed because their son requires constant care and attention. The family feel they have nowhere else to turn and as their future looks so bleak, they have been harbouring a dark plan of suicide.
Their last real chance lies in a course offered by a little charity school in Beijing called ˇ°Stars and Rainˇ±. Here, they hope to master new behavioural techniques that will enable them to teach and manage their son. If he can make enough progress then he may stand a chance of being accepted into a regular local school. If he fails, then the outlook for all of them is grim.
The family travel across the country to reach Beijing. The film then follows them as they take a deeply moving journey through the eleven weeks of the course. It is an extraordinary story of parental love as they fight to give a future to their son.