“Longevity is a symbol of happiness and serenity. However, focusing on the quantity rather than quality of life is a blind point of concerns all of us.
Many elders live to their nineties or hundreds and go through many life experiences. We admire their tenacity and strength, but are they truly happy? Do they live well? How do they support themselves? What is the meaning of life or death to them?
The film faces this reality directly. I hope by presenting this widespread, largely ignored phenomenon, people will pay more attention to the rural elder community, take action to improve the social security system, and be reminded of our civic duties and responsibilities towards our elders.
At the door of an adobe-walled rural house sits a silent simple old woman in the winter sun. With scattered silver hairs, red swollen eyes, a face full of scars, and a weak body, the old woman lowers her head and shivers feebly, leaning against a shabby dark door. Her back is a silhouette of loneliness.
The daughter-in-law visits the old woman only to give her three bowls of porridge a day. The daughter-in-law often leaves the house for farming matters, leaving very early and returning very late. The old woman often takes breakfast for lunch, and at midnight, she fumbles outside her room, shouting: "I'm hungry, very hungry!"
The old woman often fumbles for the stink pot due to her blindness. Often she is locked in a room outside the house. She endures abuse and violence from her daughter-in-law, but her careless son seems to hear or see nothing. The village leaders symbolically visit her on holidays with some gifts but no ones takes measures to help her.
There is nothing but dark, windowless walls inside the old woman’s room. Only broken castoffs fill the ground, and the room is filled with a strong smell left by poultry and livestock passing in and out freely. The old woman sits there silently. No one talks to her and even her sigh is soundless.
It is again time for the family to unite at year’s end. What she is thinking in that small dark room? It is again her birthday at lunar December. Can she survive another winter?
Nobody knows, or nobody cares?