Sun, Aug 20, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Award-winning documentary looks at life and death from doctor's perspective


Facing life-and-death issues is never easy, but the award-winning documentary Doctor tries to explore the meaning of life and death by telling the story of a Taiwanese doctor who loses his only son to suicide and then a Peruvian boy to cancer.

The documentary, which was directed by Chung Mong-hong (鍾孟宏) and won the award for best documentary in this year's Taipei Film Festival, will premiere on Sept. 29. In the film, Chung begins with an unusual teen suicide on July 4, 1996, in which 13-year-old Felix Wen, Wen Pi-chian's (溫碧謙) only son, hangs himself in a closet for unknown reasons.

Trying to come to terms with Felix's death, Wen, a radiologist in Iowa in the US, later spends time with Sebastian, a Peruvian boy who arrived in the US with his parents to seek cancer treatment.

During the treatment, Wen looks back at Felix's short life and tries to save the boy. However, Sebastian dies the following year.

"This documentary does not try to be a tear-jerker, as I was attempting to keep a distance in this film," said Chung, who took three years to produce the work.

"I think it's important to face life and death with more sense than sensibility. We need to face it, cope with it and not fear it," he said.

He does not expect to come up with the answer to life and death with this film, because these are unpredictable events, Chung said.

"The story of Felix Wen tells us that not every case of teen suicide occurs because of a lack of attention and care from one's parents. Every teenager has his own character and different way of thinking," a psychiatrist at Municipal Wang Fang Hospital said.

Just as Chung demonstrated in the film, sometimes life and death are very complicated and hard to explain, she said.

Chung said that Wen Pi-chian and his wife were model parents and that Felix Wen had been a bright student with a maturity beyond his age.

The only unusual thing was that he talked about death a lot, Chung said.

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