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Children of the Stars

Distributed by Fanlight Productions, 32 Court St., 21st Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201; 800-876-1710
Produced by Robin Aspey
Directed by Robin Aspey
DVD, color, 48 min.
Sr. High - Adult
Health Sciences, Autism

Reviewed by Gerald Notaro, University Librarian, Nelson Poynter Memorial Library, University of South Florida, St. Petersburg

Highly Recommended  Highly Recommended   
Date Entered: 11/18/2009

Well-made documentaries open eyes. Those that cross borders, all sorts of dividing lines, sometimes are startling in their ability to demonstrate how much the same we all are. Children of the Stars, filmed in China by W.R. Stanton, is one of those rare films. Though a new economic force in the world, old cultural traditions, like face-saving, die hard there. Even in world-class cities such as Beijing, parents of autistic children are shamed. The fear and anxiety displayed in their faces reveal the fear of all parents everywhere faced with the challenges of autism. The cameras expose their feelings of inadequacy. In a one-child-per-couple country they are seen as failures. Some even talk of suicide. That is when they turn to Stars and Rain, the only school to help parents of autistic children. The school conducts an assessment of the children. Some are not able to speak, some so violent their parents sport bruises. The schoolís programs seek to teach the parents how to help their children to learn. The film shows how diligently the parents work. Parents are only encouraged with true evidence of progress. Viewers can see the despair in parentsí faces turn to hope. Successes are in small increments, but real and positive. These are lessons the East has always been able to give the West. The children begin to focus and tasks are completed. Some even begin speak. The teachers of Stars and Rain are realistic with parentsí expectations. There is hope, but there are no false hopes or promises. Though a thorough introduction to autism in an alternative view, those familiar with the topic will be fascinated as well. A highly recommended purchase for all collections.