If you haven’t heard of Academy Award Winning Director Jessica Yu, then your about to learn a lot about the award winning director and her latest project Misconception. Misconception, which premiered at Tribeca Film Festival in 2014, takes on the challenging issue of global population by follow three individuals, on three different continents. By taking in their perspective and the various worldly perspectives, it gives those who don’t have to struggle with over population a real eye opener and learning experience. The film gives viewers a new angle to look at the population issue and how that problem is different in every country.
Yu achieves this by following three different individuals on three different continents. She does this by breaking her film up into chapters for these three, each able to tell their own story and show how population laws are affecting them in their daily lives. In the first chapter, the viewer is given the chance to follow the life of Bao Jianxian in China, a 29-year-old man approaching his 30th birthday and looking for love. China has the problem of a shortage of eligible females for young men to court, which has left Bao alone at almost 30, with parents and family members pressuring him to find a woman and get married. When comparing Bao’s life to a male of the same age in say the U.S., it’s an unreal situation. The look at China’s one-child per family policy is stark and very relevant for today and the culture of China. The next chapter follows the story of Denise Moutenay, a Canadian anti-aborition activist who is fighting to stop the expansion of legal abortion laws. The final story follows a journalist in East Africa. Gladys Kalibbala is in charge of writing a Lost and Found column about the abandoned and lost children of Uganda. Her fight to help the children who have found themselves alone in this would is commendable.
But what all of these stories lack is being able to truly relate with populations that aren’t dealing with the problem themselves. The most relatable story of the three for a woman in her twenties in the U.S. was Moutenay’s fight against legal abortion laws, which would take away a woman’s right to choose whether or not she was going to become a mother or not. Whereas the most interesting of the three stories is that of Bao Jianxian in China. This is a problem that China has put itself in with the favor of male children to female children. So the millennial generation is forced with the question of whether they should be selfish and think of themselves or think of their families and others and have a family.
Sadly, the first story is the only one that feels unbiased, as the other two have a sure feel of what side the director wants you to take. She wants you to agree with Moutenay and Kalibbala, rather than forming your own opinion.
The film is engaging and has many interesting points, but it’s a film that lacks connection, especially for audiences who aren’t dealing with these problems. Yes, each country has their various population problems, but a different approach might have been wise when it comes to this documentary.
If population is a topic you enjoy discussing and debating, this is the film for you, for you’ll be debating with the film in your head the entire time.
Photo Credit: Participant Media