Daria Gamliel for Cinetalk.net

Racism, police brutality, and corrupt law enforcement systems have been prevalent topics throughout the pandemic. These are not new issues, but have recently been resurfacing worldwide. The World is Bright (Ying Wang, Canada) dates back to 2019, pre-global pandemic, but is as relevant today as ever.

What begins as a suspected murder mystery spirals into a decade-long investigation of not only the victim’s death, but of the Canadian judicial system as a whole. Deng Shi Ming’s parents try to understand the cruelty and negligence which they believe caused their son’s sudden death. They leave Beijing to stay indefinitely in Vancouver, and what they find is disheartening. They are an elderly couple, helpless in a foreign country, without the means to pay for lawyers. But they refuse to back down, especially when the investigation begins to bring forward information they would have never guessed about their own son.

Shi Ming had told a friend he felt unsafe, and started secretly carrying a knife. It felt as if someone was always watching him. As the documentary progresses, more and more is revealed about the man’s unstable personality.

The unraveling of the plot points are so well done that the viewer would not anticipate many of the twists and turns in this bizarre story. Suffice to say that life is often stranger than fiction. For the sake of not offering spoilers, Cinetalk will not go into detail about Shi Ming’s health issues. But this doc is, after all showing at the ReelAbilities film festival. In other words, there is definitely a link to disability. It is not only about immigration justice or negligence in the Canadian Supreme Court. Furtherto, it is a heartwarming look at filial connection and culture. Behind the mystery of a shocking death is a “bright light” about society’s family bonds in a dark world.

This is Cinetalk’s fave pick of the festival. Though the subject matter is heavy, it is a worthwhile watch. Highly recommended!

The World is Bright – May 30th, 2021 2 PM

https://reelabilities.org until May 30th, 2021 – Tickets are available online and PWYC (Pay What You Can).