Restoring the Light (2011) Movie Script

China has the worlds second largest economy.
Its major cities are developing at phenomenal rates of growth.
Over sixty percent of the population
lives in rural areas, where poverty and inadequate healthcare persist.
RESTORING THE LIGH Good morning everyone.
Good morning.
Time to report duties.
[Huimin Eye Clinic, Yinchuan City, Ningxia]
8 admitted, 2 inpatients, 1 surgery
7 in observation, 8 in prep, 2 discharged.
Xu Xuehui, male, age 66, cataracts
in both eyes. Temperature 36.4 degrees
Pulse: 65 per min. Respiration: 19 breaths
per min. Blood pressure 110/75mm.
We often go to the countryside.
We see a lot of people who have
never set foot in a hospital before.
Their diseases are easily preventable
and curable with basic medical care.
But they dont have the means to get it.
Hows this eye doing?
Its alright.
-So well do the other eye.
Some people have never been in a hospital their entire life.
Some have never even left the mountains.
So we can say their state of healthcare is very behind.
After I pursued ophthalmology and
started interacting with patients,
especially those from the impoverished
countryside, I felt we needed to expand our work.
Its not really about what you get back in return.
The feeling of giving people back their sight is really wonderful.
The surgery went well.
Thank you.
[The Wang Family]
I feel bad for my grandmother
not being able to see clearly, her vision worsening day by day.
This makes her really stressed and anxious.
My life has been hard for almost 70 years.
I dont like to talk about the past because it makes me sad.
Last year, I wanted to have an eye surgery.
The doctor said I had high blood pressure and heart disease.
So it didnt happen.
To be honest, people like us, neither do we have money
nor is it easy to see a doctor.
My life has been so difficult.
All I can do is just keep living it.
What else can I do?
Just keep living
[The Li Family]
Last year, we went to school to see the teacher.
The teacher said, your kid cant see,
so we cant accept him.
And my mom asked if I can enroll, they said no.
When I wake up in the morning at 6am, my
daughter-in-law has already left for the fields.
I was telling my daughter- in-law that this is
harvest season and I want to lend a hand.
I told her that after the wheat harvest,
I will rest and not work anymore.
I told her I cant do anything more because
I can hardly see where Im walking.
Southern Ningxia Province is very economically disadvantaged.
Traditionally their income comes from what they farm.
When he was 1, he had a cold. We went to a small clinic
and they said he had cataracts.
We spent over one thousand yuan in the small clinics,
then we went to see a medical team doing a tour.
They said our boy got the wrong medicine.
His eyes got the wrong treatment.
The medical team in Guyuan said
to wait till our boy is 10 to see if he can get an operation.
We dont have any money and when we went
to the small clinics, we wasted a lot of it.
Rongrong cant be a laborer. I tell her,
you have to go to college.
If you dont make it, you cant be a laborer
because of your foot problem.
Do you feel pain? Yes, when you pressed this side.
Im actually not quite clear what happened.
My mom says that when I was four
months old, blisters appeared on my feet
then pus flowed out.
They gradually started to rot
In the beginning, the problem wasnt too serious.
It flared up only in the summertime, when it was hot.
Id go to the hospital once a week,
spending over 100 yuan each time.
Injections and medication.
Finally, my foot got better, but only for a couple
of months. Then it started to fester again.
From then on, it never improved. For the following five
years, for all of secondary school, it didnt get better.
This looks like a vascular infection.
-I havent done a sonogram.
-Vascular infection. Get a sonogram to see.
Why havent you gotten a proper exam?
Ive seen doctors and they say to have an operation,
but that the following year the problem would come back.
They said that even if I amputated,
the problem would come back.
The money in our household is tight.
When we went to Pengyang, they told us
we had to go to Baoji to get treated.
We couldnt go to Baoji. She has to go to school.
We have to send three kids to school.
We couldnt afford to get her treated.
Save the yolk for the cat.
Lets eat the egg.
OK, I peeled the egg. Take that.
Take that.
Ow, you just hit me!
Dont think I wouldnt dare.
Ill hit you with my candy.
Dont think I wouldnt dare.
You eat it.
You peeled it!
I dont want it.
What do you want to do when you grow up?
I want to go to school and drive.
Why do you want to drive?
I wanna be a driver and drive people.
I wanna do something and drive people.
Why do you want to drive people?
I could earn lots and lots of money.
I could make 10,000 a year.
But I cant see. Even if I cant see, Im still going to drive.
We dont have money at home.
Both our kids are disabled.
Were going to see if we can adopt another kid.
That way, one day, when were gone,
that new child can help this one who cant see.
The new kid can support him. Thats what were thinking.
Our daughter is also disabled.
One day shell get married off and live with others.
Were going to keep asking around
to see if we can adopt another boy.
Its fine if were both here, but what
about one day when were gone?
If we can restore just one of his eyes,
then a disabled person might want
to marry him and have his kids.
You raise a son so that he can take a wife
and leave kids to continue the family line.
I hope that his vision will be restored.
I just have a very simple wish
that I could earn money to give my family a better life.
Pay back all our debts.
Thats all.
I tell her, if you pass the college exam, my
heart will be at ease for the rest of my life.
The Chinese way has always been:
you go to school, then college, then you get a job.
You leave the mountainous rural areas.
You drew a new picture today.
The teacher said if its too hard to
color all the waves, to do it this way.
-So was the teacher OK with this?
What did she say?
That my picture was different from the others.
That it was uglier?
That it was prettier.
As I said previously, Im also from
the southern mountains of Ningxia.
Our financial situation was not so great when I was young.
Because we were poor,
the only way to change our life was to go to school
to get an education and finally to leave that place.
Starting in 2001,
I went to a relatively large hospital in China to study.
It broadened my horizons considerably.
I was no longer satisfied at the old job, so I quit.
I went to a lot of different places.
In the beginning, I took up jobs at private eye clinics
to accumulate some experience.
Then I thought of Ningxia Province.
First, I was born in Ningxia.
I thought it was my duty to do something for the people here.
Second, I think the more impoverished a place is,
the greater the occurrence and complexity of eye disease.
As an eye doctor, I would be able
to develop my medical experience.
My second granddaughter, Ningning,
is healthy. She helps with everything.
Ningnings feet are fine.
Shell have no problem being a laborer.
Ive lived here for more than 20 years.
My mother-in-law has lived here for
sixty-some years, maybe more.
How did you get your new house?
Thanks to the Party and the government
they gave us a few thousand to build a new house.
When I was young, people lived primarily in caves.
Youd pare away a side of the mountain,
then dig out a cavern.
It was cheap and practical, didnt waste
any materials, just required labor.
This is my mom and my brother.
This is my Grandma. This is my
sister and me when we were little.
This one and this one.
Rongrong used to love decorating things.
When we were living here, she
decorated our home really nicely.
Now its not nice anymore.
Good morning everyone.
Good morning.
Time to report duties.
I have two announcements. The first is
today we are organizing a mobile
clinic to the Pengyang countryside.
Well announce the team members shortly.
I packed forty 5mL syringes and ten 10mL syringes
-One triple-mirror.
A lot of the rural elderly women cant understand Mandarin.
We have to be detailed, patient and conscientious.
We must not lose our temper, because
they cant understand what we are saying.
We must be patient with them.
When we do this kind of work, we have to cover our costs.
Given the current financial condition of the hospital,
we cant afford to incur loss or we cant continue operations.
Still, we must give the patients the
most appropriate care at the best cost.
But we need to control our cost.
Lets say we overspend on one patient
for example, use up a lot of our resources for one free surgery.
If many others require this, we wouldnt
be able to continue operations.
So please be aware of the degree of expenditure.
All the same, we must do our best to satisfy patient needs
and solve their problems.
When I was little, I would get some
sticks and draw things in the yard.
Back then my father was very strict.
I didnt dare talk to him. Id hide away from him.
Id talk to my mom. Id follow her around since she was busy.
I told her, Im going to be a painter when I grow up.
My mom didnt say much in return. She said, be one if you like.
This is a picture of an old man. I copied it from a book.
In Xian, there were hundreds of studios
and professional model companies.
Those models were all street sweepers.
Most were in their 40s or 50s, some even in their 60s.
When we first got there, none of us had any money.
We were all from Pengyang, the few of us that went.p
We all felt really poor.
Buying paints and pens all cost a lot of money.p
Wed often eat buns and not have
a real meal for an entire month.
These buns were about this big.
You could buy five for 1 yuan.
Eating like this, we all soon got stomach pains.
Finally, our teacher got mad and said
we couldnt eat buns all the time.
Our health would deteriorate and we wouldnt
have enough energy to learn anything.
Maybe learning art will cost a lot of money.
But Ive chosen it, and I will not give up.
I will continue my studies. The money
problem I will have to deal with later.
When I get to college, maybe I could get a loan.
Now, I can only rely on my father to think of a solution.
[Yinchuan City
Capital of Ningxia Province]
How much does the plant pay you per day?
55 yuan
If your daughter goes to college, what
are you going to do about her tuition?
Get a loan.
Who will provide a loan? The village?
Wed have to ask people we know. Pay interest.
-A bank loan?
-Its going to be over 10,000 yuan a year.
Will 10,000 be enough?
For one year, no.
If she gets into this college, every year will cost 28,000 yuan.
I miss him, but he cant just stay home.
Look at all my grandkids. We need
money to pay for their schooling.
Whatll happen if he stays home?
We dont make any profit from our crops. Theres nothing.
So he has to go away to work.
He leaves after the planting season.
He left for the city 2 months ago.
Free eye exams today
-Can you do surgeries for glaucoma? -Yes.
Can we see doctors today?
Bring them over for an exam.
It's for mixed glaucoma.
Bring them over for a checkup and well see what we can do.
-Theyre in the village clinic?
Please hurry.
We have free eye exams at the clinic today.
Please be patient, you have to register first.
Get some paper and jot down his symptoms.
Please look at which side the letter is facing.
Your age?
62 years old.
Your phone number?
I dont have a phone.
Come and sit here.
How many fingers are there?
Look at my fingers. How many?
-I cant see.
-You cant see.
You cant tell.
Come lets check your eyesight.
Is there any light in front of your eyes?
Is there light?
What about now? Is there any light? No.
-Is there light?
No more.
It seems he has light perception.
Is there light?
Look at me.
Both eyes have conjunctivitis.
As well as cataracts.
Right now, both eyes require surgery.
-Both eyes?
Shes been diagnosed with cataracts before
but due to her high blood pressure and heart disease,
she didnt get her operation at the local hospitals.
After her exams with the doctors here however,
we feel she is able to undergo surgery.
Certainly, well have to take some appropriate pre-op measures
to ensure she has the best conditions for surgery.
Adjust his head.
Dont move. Look at me.
Look at me.
He still has some light perception. Hes afraid of the light.
Look at me.
We should finish all our tests first to see.
His condition permitting, we may suggest
a corneal transplant for his right eye
to see if he can regain some vision.
For this boy who is blind in both eyes
this is something we should try.
However, it is difficult to predict what
will happen after the operation.
People here have certain preconceived notions.
It is very rare, virtually impossible, that
someone would donate their cornea.
It will be difficult to give him an operation.
Will you receive your college notice soon
or will you have to wait another day?
I wont be able to receive a notice,
but I can find out my score.
After I get my score, based on the
cutoffs I can list my college preferences.
Ill just go see my score. If its high, Ill be
happy. If not, I cant do anything about it.
All I can do is wait.
So you know all the scores.
Did you check mine?
What was it?
I made it?
What was the cutoff?
If my scores over 400, I want to list Xian
Science and Technology University.
Science and Construction Technical University?
If 200, youll list Ningxia University?
This year, Ningxia University raised
its cutoff to a higher standard.
If I listed Ningxia University, it would be safer. Yes.
[High School Principals Apartment]
The art major only admits one student
from my province. Im afraid to list it.
There are still those who have scores higher than you.
The art major only takes 3 students nationally.
Wow, each major only takes 2 to 3 students.
What should I do?
This is your future. Youre going
to have to think about it carefully.
What did you score?
If not 300, then 200.
I scored 401.
I just scraped by 400.
So little?
So little? Other people only got 200.
Luckily I got into a university.
Yes, luckily.
Otherwise youll have to be like your
uncle, digging caves for a living.
I can dig caves.
I have a terrible habit.
When I need money to accomplish
some difficult task, I sell my home.
My first investment was a failure.
I lost everything.
This time to start the new clinic, I sold it again.
My wife is very against it.
But during critical moments, she is still supportive.
Im going downstairs to take a look.
Whats going on?
Look what youve done.
Look what youve done, calling the local TV crews to come.
Were just shooting a short film, whats wrong?
-A short film
You should have at least told the management.
Were just shooting their personal life.
Personal or not, you dont have the right-
What does their personal life have to do with the management?
You cant come here.
When you rent, you can just get kicked out anytime.
Were at the end of our lease, so they want to kick us out.
These days Im really anxious
and stressed about renting or buying a new place.
Work has been busy so I dont
have time to househunt thoroughly.
How many characters do you have left?
Yuan and
Where do you have to write to?
To Lesson 21.
-Sorry, I lost my self-control.
-No, please dont say that.
Its our fault. Our filming raised this issue.
Not really.
Everytime we have to deal with moving, I get upset.
For the sake of his clinic, Ive already sold our home twice.
Every year, we have to move house.
When the landlord forces me to leave,
Im sure to cry and become upset.
I sell our home to support his clinic
to support his career.
I get pushed around and forced to vacate.
Its the same problem for my daughter, changing schools
from one to the next.
Im sorry.
Yanhua, get up. Its time for class.
One, two, three!
Sit up straight!
Four, five, six!
Hands behind back!
Seven, eight, nine!
Raise your head!
Today, we are going to review the songs weve learned before.
The sun is shining. The flowers are smiling at us.
The bird chirps Good Morning and
asks me why I carry a schoolbag.
Are you happy playing with your sister at school?
Yeah, Im happy.
Do you like school?
I like it.
I can sing in school! You heard me sing.
Now you can sing.
Mothers are the best thing in the world.
Kids who have mothers-
Kids who have mothers are like bundles of treasure.
Being hugged by mom
is like all the happiness in the world.
Did your sister teach you to sing?
Theyre playing tag.
Go play.
Theyre playing tag!
I think the brother and sister were very good together today.
I think it will work, on a certain level.
-Did Juncheng sing well?
Good, lets give him a round of applause.
One, two, three, youre so great!
One, two, three, youre so great!
Good, now you may go back to your seat.
But longterm, Im not sure how it will go.
The daughter has epilepsy.
She often has seizures at school.
Sometimes at school, shell have a spell and faint.
She loses all consciousness.
It happens so fast, sometimes during class
or she may fall suddenly in the yard.
Our teachers and students call
me right away and I help her up.
Ive seen this happen many times.
Juncheng is completely blind.
He will have difficulty going to school.
We dont have this kind of teaching experience.
Our method is to use the blackboard and read from books.
It will be hard to teach a child like him.
Im house-hunting right now. Do you
think you can fit me in, in half an hour?
Individual. Im not a broker. I want to buy an apartment.
My budget is around 200,000 yuan,
I prefer lower floors, 2nd to 4th floor is fine.
We cant live here.
This bedroom cant fit anything.
We could put a desk in here.
You cant even fit a bed.
Whats that area for?
You could hang your clothes there.
Its a bad design for hanging clothes.
Such a poor design.
Its fine for two people. With a kid, it doesnt work.
You cant even fit a bed in that room.
Its too small.
We need the right environment for our child to study in.
What do we do?
They want cash right?
Theyll accept bank loans.
Half of 340,000 is 170,000. Thats hard too.
We can only look at places that cost about 200,000.
Maybe we can live in an unfinished house.
You said so yourself. Skip the fixtures;
well just buy furniture.
Ill bring the stool in.
Nothing is more important than life.
I am really hoping her eyes will get better.
I wish there was something I could do to help her.
Be careful of the steps.
After I get my operation, I want to see everything.
The mountains, the water,
I want to thread a needle.
And do it myself, with my own eyesight.
Regarding the risks of the operation
were not performing general or local
anesthesia, so there wont be much risk there.
The risks in her situation have to do with her heart condition.
Its good shell be awake. We can
communicate if she feels any discomfort.
If anything goes wrong, we will simply stop the operation.
My opinion?
If there are no big risks, Ill do it.
I cant say there is absolutely zero risk.
But the fact were at this stage
means you have the right conditions.
We can deal with any relative situations as they arise.
If you had serious risks, I wouldnt
sit here with you for this discussion.
Id ask you to go home.
Thats as much as I can say.
One on her name and one on the I agree.
I cant see.
Put one on the I agree also.
Its ok. Its all part of the process.
Relax. Dont be nervous.
Close your eyes gently. The operation is finished.
Was it painful?
We can barely provide for even our daughter.
Every year we spend hundreds and hundreds on her medicine.
The year before last, we sold one of our animals.
One bottle of pills costs 100 yuan and lasts a week.
Sometimes, that isnt even enough.
The more she takes, the more I worry.
We only have one bottle left to last her till harvest time.
My son is still so young.
Youve taken him to school this time.
Later, Im afraid the teacher wont accept him.
And then, its going to be harder.
Later, we wont be able to find you again either.
I dont know what to do.
Were going to remove this cloth today.
-Can you see?
-Yes. I can see.
How many fingers here?
After such a big operation, you can hardly see the incision.
It was very successful.
Im so happy she can now see all sorts of things.
Im really happy.
I told Grandma, your eyesight is now better than mine.
You dont have to say anything, just point.
[Department of Orthopaedics]
Can all of us come in?
Yes, please come in.
-What are these?
Is this the artery?
Yes, this one and this one.
The rest are veins.
This is the superficial femoral artery, the
profound femoral artery and the femoral vein.
Please keep this position and dont move, ok?
If we still dont have enough money, we can
sell our cows for my daughters treatment.
How much can you sell the cows for?
About 10,000 yuan.
The doctor said that there is nothing
wrong with the blood vessels.
The blood vessels should be fine.
You must face reality
and still look to a better tomorrow
Theres a bright side to everything.
If you have hope,
everything will work out fine.
We cant do anything on our own.
Youve come to our home and you
see how we live, what we eat.
Two meals a day.
We survive on what we grow.
This is our life.
The work Ive been doing
is enabling me to look at life differently.
Im not saying Im smart.
Through hard work, Ive come to a deeper understanding of life.
Its a good thing.
Its an abundance that cant be measured
on the same level as monetary wealth.
I think what Ive gained is far greater than what Ive given up.
Grandma Yuan received her second cataract operation successfully. With her vision restored, she can now work in the fields once more and has a renewed spirit for life.
Since filming, Dr. Zhang purchased a new home. However, he closed down Huimin Eye Clinic.
He is now part of a major hospital.
Rongrong secured a loan and is attending Ningxia University as an art education major.
Having rejected local doctors suggestions for amputation, her bone infection persists.
Junchengs mother abandoned the family.
Shortly after, Junchengs sister had an epileptic seizure while walking home from school. As no one was around to help her, she passed away.
Juncheng did not receive a cornea.