"Life for a Child," conceived and directed by Edward Lachman, the subject matter of Diabetes as an international health crisis takes front and center in this unique story of the people of Nepal and their struggle to deal with the crisis when healthcare in the country is often expensive, beyond the means of citizens and can involve hours of walking merely to reach a clinic.
Think about it.
For those who are diabetic, can you imagine having a blood sugar issue and THEN having to set out on a 4-8 hour walk across mountainous terrain to reach the medical center where you can be tested?
As an adult living with spina bifida myself, it is stories like these that trouble me the most and yet inspire me in the sense of the families who care for one another even when it means companioning a loved one for hours at a time or moving to the city and inevitable poverty just to have access to better healthcare.
Directed by Academy Award-nominee Edward Lachman, "Life for a Child" largely centers around the stories of a few children and how their families cope with this new diagnosis.
In fact, I found myself feeling very "American" during this film and, time and again, thinking to myself "Why does this story even deserve a documentary?"
It's not that bad. Is it?
Oh, wait. HERE in America, it's not that bad.
What we take for granted in this country- access to healthcare, ease and convenience of medicines, quick check-ups and, yes, even affordable healthcare are not even considered luxuries in the nation of Nepal because for many they simply do not exist.
Where "Life for a Child" lagged was in how it presented the information. While "The Road to Fondwa" captured the vibrance and the spirit of the people of Haiti, often "Life for a Child" felt like a heavy weight upon the chest as if life for a child is perpetually hopeless. Having friends who have served in Nepal and brought back photos and videos of these amazing people, I'm aware of so much vibrance and humanity that is simply not captured in "Life for a Child."
It is only in the film's closing moments, as we begin to end our time with these children that we begin to glimpse the hopeful and innocent spirits of these children who will grow up with this illness and their determination to not allow it to define their future.
The other issue I have with "Life for a Child" also troubles me with the next film I will review, and that is that pharmaceutical drug maker Eli Lilly serves as a film sponsor and it's impossible to not, at least minimally, wonder if this isn't an artistic opportunity to shine a light on Lilly's good works related to the availability of drugs in poverty-stricken countries.
Despite this slight reservation, "Life for a Child" is an informative and entertaining film that, perhaps viewed solely on its own would have felt less heavy and more hopeful.