Dying to Survive (2018) was the most popular Chinese movie of this year, it was even quoted by Chinese Premier in one of his talks leading to some actions on the ground. It handles the sensitive and emotional issue of medicines not covered by Chinese Public healthcare being priced exorbitantly and outside the reach of many dying patients who need it to stay alive.
Cheng Yong (Xu Zheng) is running unsuccessfully a shop selling “love” perfumes imported from India. One day, he is persuaded by a patient suffering a form of leukaemia to get into importing illegally a patented drug’s generic variant from India. Cheng sells it at 5% of what the original medicine from Swiss costs in China, thereby getting the medicine in the hands of thousands of critically ill and saving their lives. While this earns a lot of money for him and his four associates, he gets closer and closer to getting into deep trouble — a possible prison term of over 15 years. As the Police increase their pressure, Cheng exists the lucrative business which only makes things worse for the people around him.
The first half of the film where Cheng and his associates fumble their way through their illegal trade was hilarious, with the second half taking a serious turn we are left emotionally sad and reflective as the film ends. The film succeeds in raising the question of what is right and what is wrong, especially when it comes to saving lives.
A must watch film.
Also published on Medium.