The Reborn of Beichuan

Stories of Recovery after the Sichuan Earthquake

The Sichuan earthquake that struck this mountainous region on May 12, 2008 killed an estimated 90,000 people, including thousands of children. For many families in China, losing one child means losing an only child. The Reborn of Beichuan follows the journey of two families from the devastated city of Beichuan as they try to restore normalcy to their lives and struggle to move past the loss of their children.

Fang Yonggui, 58, and his wife Yang Jianfen, 49, lost their 16-year-old daughter Fang Juan in the earthquake. Yang is too old to conceive. She hopes to adopt a baby girl, but that dream proves elusive. Jiang Hongyou, 43, and Fu Guangjun, 42, lost their 15-year-old son. Two years later, they had Jiang Yutong, a girl who now consumes all of their love and attention.

Director Zijian Mu was born and raised in Beichuan. His father taught for more than fifteen years at the Beichuan Middle School, where more than 1,500 students died during the earthquake. Mu lost close family members in the earthquake, a personal toll that filled him with the urge to follow this story even years after the immediate disaster. He has returned often to Beichuan since 2008. He shot this film from May to September of 2012. This video is a shorter, edited version of Mu’s film One Child, winner of the 2014 Student Academy Awards.