Ravage is a visceral and hard-hitting short film by Peabody Award-winning director Leon Lee and stars human rights advocate, actress, and Canadian beauty pageant titleholder Anastasia Lin.
The film is just over 7 minutes in length and has all the settings of a psychological horror story as we enter the psyche of a victim of torture.
The sad truth, which is revealed later in the film, is that it is based on true events. It is the story of state-sanctioned organ harvesting of prisoners of conscience in China for profit.
The backstory for Ravage from the Films for Freedom website:
In 2009, a courageous eyewitness came forward who wanted to clear his conscience. The armed guard was present at a surgery on April 9, 2002, in an operating room on the 15th floor of the General Hospital of Shenyang Military Command. He was stationed in the room while two military doctors extracted organs from a woman without administering any anesthesia.
The victim was a middle school teacher in her 30s detained for practicing Falun Gong — a spiritual practice banned since 1999 by the Chinese Communist Party. Before the doctors killed her, she had been subjected to a month of severe torture, brainwashing, molestation, and rape. The scenes in the film “Ravage” are a toned-down depiction of the guard’s eyewitness account.
This film is not for the faint-hearted, even though it was toned down compared to accounts of true-life events. Probably the most chilling moment in the film was at the end. As the credits roll we hear the voice of a guard as he gives his account. The energy in his voice hits you hard and is something that an actor could never re-create. But it is also a great act of courage for him to speak out about this event.
Anastasia Lin’s performance is powerful and emotive. We see her faced with the challenge of being persuaded to give up her belief as the film depicts her mental state inside a red room. As she struggles with the physical and mental pain, she endures by telling herself to “stay strong.”
One of the most tender moments is when she looks at a photo of her daughter and tells her through her tears: “Mommy loves you, be good and happy,” and: “Mommy tried to hold on for you.” This is intercut with a blade that cuts through the red room. The light is flickering and as an audience, we can only guess this was the final moments of her life.
The film then takes an unexpected turn, where the red room seems to fall into another space after doctors cut their way in, step inside, and put Anastasia on her bed. We are then in a hospital with a patient who has just received a heart transplant. We follow the doctors who harvested the organ as they give friendly waves to the unsuspecting patients and exit into an elevator.
The film was released last week on the Films for Freedom website. It’s an informative site where you can watch more short films that focus on human rights and find out all the facts behind them.