By Giuliana Cincotta
Life matters so much more when every heartbeat could be your last. For Zhu Jianlin, this moment would become a decade as her beloved husband lay in a hospital bed on the verge of certain death.
This awe-inspiring journey is at the centre of Boundaries of the Heart, a dramatic debut film from director Zhang Feng set to premiere on 12 March at the Byron Bay Film Festival in Murwillumbah. Based on Jianlin’s harrowing plight, this feature-length adaption follows protagonist Xi Er as she makes the decision to devote her life to manually pump a respirator for the gravely ill A Sheng.
This beautifully dim tale is one layered with deep sentiment. We experience powerful silences that sit against the backdrop of a cold and grey China, conveying more than words could justify as Xi Er’s emotional and financial ordeal only worsens with time.
The tiresome length that this hopeless devotee of love travels to despite the odds, conjures equal sadness as it does to inspire immense strength. Xi Er never ceases to scrounge for aid as A Sheng’s deterioration intensifies and her efforts to resist buckling beneath the pressures of her tremendous anguish are solely overcome by the indomitable strength in true love.
Love unites a village and empowers all to combat the impossible and the impractical. It grants renewed life, instils a newfound sense of value upon a woman surely defeated by the hopelessness of her condition and above all, it reminds us of what matters most when all seems lost.
Byron Bay Film Festival runs from March 6-15. Program and tickets available at www.bbff.com.au