The Asian Educational Media Service continues its impressive series of screenings with The Blood of the Yingzhou District tonight at 7 p.m. This Oscar-winning documentary chronicles the lives of various orphans in the rural Chinese region of the title, their parents killed by AIDS or other diseases picked up from contaminated blood. That these children have been abandoned by fate is hard enough to bear but the fact that many of them are HIV-positive as well, makes their plight too much to bear.
The most heart-rending case is that of Gao Jun, a young boy not yet five who is cared for by his addled grandmother. When she dies, he is left to fend for himself with his grandmother’s farm animals until his uncles take him under their wing. However, this does little to improve his situation as his elder uncle must grapple with the possibility that his peers may shun him if he lets his infected nephew play with other children in the area. Meanwhile, Gao Jun’s younger uncle fears that he may not be able to marry if this child remains in his house.
Heartbreaking and unforgettable, The Blood of the Yingzhou District is a piece of gripping cinema that provides an unflinching look at how the world’s poor, challenged by ignorance and a lack of opportunity, are often discarded not only by fate, but by those who are suppose to care for them as well.
The Blood of the Yingzhou District runs tonight at 7 p.m. in the Armory, Room 101, 505 E. Armory Ave., on UIUC’s campus, free of charge.