The Documentary, ‘Review’, Attributes Value to Terminal Patients’ Final Journey of Life

Categories: Care, Featured, In The Media, and People & Places.

Review is the first documentary discussing spiritual care in Taiwan. It has brought terminal patients, Guan-Wei, Yao-Hua, and Yu-Shan’s final journey of their lives onto the big screen.

Master Tsung-Tueng Shih, Clinical Buddhist Chaplain of Dabei Xueyuan says, “Spiritual care is fundamentally working in between life and death. We expect this film to help the public better understand what spiritual care is and what it means to the patients and their families so as to reduce the public’s fear of death.”

Each story is real and personal. Guan-Wei’s sister revealed the reason why she accepted the filming. “Guan-Wei had neither a good education nor a decent job. In general, he didn’t have any achievements throughout his life, but if we can share his life experience as educational material to benefit others, his value as a human being is expanded. Therefore, his life becomes more meaningful.”

“The name of the documentary Review actually has three meanings to reflect the three phases of spiritual care provided to the terminal patients,” Master Tsung-Tueng Shih says. “These three phases are: review your life, look within your heart, and accept yourself with mercy and kindness.” Master Shih also reveals, “The deepest interactions we had with the patients have usually happened outside of the filming.” Yu-Shan’s sister says honestly, “At first, as Yu-Shan was acting in front of the camera, she gradually became weaker and weaker until the late stage of shooting the film. At that point, she couldn’t continue anymore.” Master De-Jia, the spiritual care supervisor says, “When a person approaches death, he is also growing closer to his true self.” Gradually throughout the filming, Yu-Shan opened her heart and began having profound conversations with the spiritual caregiver. The tears she shed expressed her reluctance to part with life, yet in the end, she peacefully said goodbye to her daughter and stepped into the realm of death.

Director Zhi-Han Chen, who has filmed many documentaries discussing life and death, shares that the process of filming Review was unforgettable for him. “Within two years of following the lives of ten patients, nine of them have already passed away. I started to think to myself: we welcome new lives with joy, but why shouldn’t we do the same when the lives are leaving?” Master De-Jia had a deep impression of the patient Yao-Hua, who was not used to expressing herself even when she needed help, and this inhibition often caused her anxiety and emotional suffering. However, once Master De-Jia appeared and empathized with her, she eventually calmed herself and left the world with internal peace. Yao-Hua’s husband says, “Although it was a bit sad to see my wife experience discomfort in the filming, I hope it can be a light for the families who are experiencing the same helplessness.”

Review records how the three-terminal stage patients face different stages of death. The film delicately expresses the individuals’ emotions of facing death and describes their wish to live longer, their fear of death, and eventually, their courage that spiritual care brought them. Director Zhi-Han Chen, who is keen to film documentaries regarding life and death issues, took nearly two years to record the process of terminal patients, leading the audiences to each stage of life and recognize the importance of spiritual care.

Link to the trailer:

(Please note that currently, there is only a Chinese version available in the theater)

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This information was provided by Hospice Foundation Taiwan

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