Movie Review: One Child Nation

Movie Review: One Child Nation
I had heard good things about One Child Nation when it screened at Cinetopia earlier this year, but unfortunately I wasn't able to fit it into my schedule at that point. When I received a screening invite to see it last week, then, I was excited to see it.

The synopsis on IMDb for this movie is a little vague: "After becoming a mother, a filmmaker uncovers the untold history of China's one-child policy and the generations of parents and children forever shaped by this social experiment." What it does not tell you is that the filmmaker, Nanfu Wang, moved to the U.S. six years before having her first child, and so she essentially grew up in China under the one-child policy. Nanfu, however, was an exception: her family lived in a rural area, and she actually had a brother; for those living in rural areas, two children were acceptable, but the second child had to be born 5+ years after the first.

I was only vaguely familiar with China's former one-child policy, so this documentary was very interesting. Nanfu went back to China to talk to some of the people who were village leaders at the time, and the subject is still very touchy for some people. She also found out that the government was leading forced abortions and sterilizations; she says something like "it's ironic that I now live in a country (the U.S.) where abortions are hard to get done, whereas in China the government was mandating forced abortions at one point."

At the time, China made many propaganda videos and even had propaganda bands and singers, espousing how the one-child policy was best; now that China has a two-child policy, the same routines continue, except they now espouse that two children is ideal.

Yes, see this film, even if you aren't really a "documentary person." I found it very interesting overall, and the subject was personal to the filmmaker which probably helped the movie be as compelling as it was. The film is rated "R" but I believe it's just for language, for the most part, though IMDb says it's also for some "disturbing content/images."

One Child Nation is in theaters today, August 23rd, and is rated R with a runtime of 85 minutes. 4 stars out of 5.

{In the Detroit area: you can find it showing at the Main Art Theatre and the Michigan Theater starting Friday, August 23rd.}

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