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Director builds on inspirational visit to welfare institution

Updated: 2023-10-24 15:16 ( chinadaily.com.cn )
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An Encounter to Remember stars actor Jin Shijia as an ultrasound technician. [Photo provided to China Daily]

When director Ha Zhichao visited a welfare institution for people with mental challenges in Hebei province in 2015, he discovered that the moment was etched in his mind as one of the "simplest and happiest''.

The feeling was enhanced one year later when he was provided with the script of An Encounter to Remember, a heartfelt tale about mentally challenged individuals.

Starring actor Jin Shijia as an ultrasound technician, the movie begins with the character at a crossroads in life. The character accepts the help of a friend and starts working in a sanatorium where he resides with a group of intellectually challenged individuals. Initially feeling uncomfortable, he gradually becomes moved by their innocence and happiness and assists a mentally disabled couple in realizing their dream of becoming parents.

An Encounter to Remember held its premiere in Beijing on Oct 16, gathering major stars. [Photo provided to China Daily]

The sanatorium in the film is largely inspired by the welfare institution that Ha visited eight years ago. He recalled that the institution features a charming courtyard and a three-story building, with the walls adorned with vibrant paintings.

"They also keep lambs and chicks, adding to the lively atmosphere. We had the pleasure of spending an afternoon with the children, joining them in songs and dances. Their infectious smiles radiated a powerful healing energy," recalled the director.

The movie had invited French mime artist Philippe Bizot to provide a two-week-long performance class to the cast members, helping them find the authentic way to portray their roles.

The film has been released in domestic theaters since Oct 20.


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