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The Orphan

Chen Jiaping

Release year: 2017

Run time: 84 mins

Film type: Documentary


 The priest reads in the early hours of the morning in the church of the disabled orphanage. It is dawn and the villagers enter the funeral service with a prayer service. At the orphanage for disabled children, there are babies among the youngest children. Two children who go to school in pairs are not able to listen properly to the lessons. More children with mobility problems were left to dither and crawl on the floor. But they too are God's people and attend the worship services in the church. In the misty autumn, a new cathedral is being built in the village. Insects, kittens, puppies, orphans, worshipping villagers, all life in its own way. At night, the tired priest goes to sleep after writing. In his dreams, he goes to a graveyard to be with his dying mother in silence. The seasons are changing, rain, winter snow, and the orphans wear thick winter clothes that make movement even more difficult. The cathedral was built, the people celebrated the biggest Christmas Day of the year, and the orphans attended the festival. Time passes and the orphans grow up and they gather together for a meal as if to pray for the coming of the Holy Spirit.


Director biography

Chen Jiaping is a poet and documentary director from China. He started filming migrants in Beijing in 2003. From 2010 to 2014 he documented the “rights defence” movements of migrant students’ parents. From 2016, he has been engaged in the Toxic/Independent (duli, 毒立) Cinema Movement, of which he is one of the initiators. In October 2017, he completed the documentary film The Orphans, which was collected by the Institute of Chinese Studies of the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 2019.