by Marzia De Giuli
VENICE, Italy, Aug. 29 (Xinhua) -- When a kid goes missing, parents struggle to cope with a nightmare that most people would be unable to comprehend. A Chinese-language movie presented here at the ongoing Venice film festival has given a contribution to the awareness raising about this universal and Chinese drama.
Qin'ai de (Dearest) by Hong-Kong movie director Peter Ho-Sun Chan, based on a true story, depicts the complete turmoil into which the ordinary lives of a man and his ex-wife in Shenzhen are thrown when their three-year-old son is abducted to be sold to another family.
The pair combs through half China in search of their child. But when they finally find their beloved Peng in a remote village with the help of a support group that is dedicated to locating missing children, they realize that he sees his biological parents as strangers.
Like in the movie, it is not always a happy ending when abducted children are returned home in the reality. Indeed it was after watching a news documentary around two years ago that Chan decided to turn the story into a movie.
"Child abduction happens in many countries of the world, but it is a very contemporary Chinese problem that has often affected the country's society and values in the last decade," he told a press conference in Lido of Venice, where the film was presented as part of the Out of Competition selection.
The delicate complexity of the child-abduction topic springs from the two parts of Qin'ai de. "The first half is about finding a kidnapped adopted child, while the second is about after you have found him and have to counter with his foster mother whom you think is a criminal. So you also see the other side of the story," Chan noted.
Over the past years, China's authorities have launched a number of campaigns to bring abducted children home, continuously busting child trafficking rings and returning tens of thousands of kidnapped children to their homes.
"I do not make movies for particular social purposes, it is never my intention, but if this movie could affect the audience the way the documentary affected me, which I hope, I think this would become a movie with a social consciousness," the director pointed out.
The story, he told Xinhua, fits perfectly into what he has always believed. "I am a pessimist, so I think there are always a lot of really unfortunate things in this world, which is exactly what happens to my characters," he said.
"But at the same time, they do find comfort in each other," he highlighted. "Therefore if we try to make this world a better place, even though we cannot change it, this could still give us a certain strength to continue," Chan added. Qin'ai de is expected to be released in China on Oct. 1.
Meanwhile, the movie has already been much appreciated by the international audience of journalists and experts who had the luck to watch it at the Venice film festival.
"This story help Europeans go deeper into the problems and developments of Chinese society," a cinema professor from the Italian town of Lucca, Pier Dario Marzi, told Xinhua shortly after watching Qin'ai de.
"I really liked the artistic structure of the movie. The story moved me, and even more when I realized that it was a true one," said Beatrice Terenzi, a journalist of Resto del Carlino, one of Italy's oldest newspapers.
"Child abduction is a frequent drama in the world, but unfortunately it is not often mentioned. Qin'ai de has the important merit of raising awareness about this serious problem," she stressed.