Last week, Choose Humanity, a University of Toronto club, hosted a screening of The Bleeding Edge on campus. Directed by Leon Lee, The Bleeding Edge takes the viewer through a journey of emotional turmoil as it follows the suffering endured by members of the Falun Gong belief in China. Falun Gong is a spiritual discipline that consists of intense, daily meditation and adheres to principles of truth and tolerance. In 1999, the Chinese Communist Party banned the practice of Falun Gong, persecuting and torturing all followers who refused to convert.
Based on a true story, The Bleeding Edge takes place in the early 2000s in Shanghai, China, during the Chinese Communist reign. Anastasia Lin, a U of T alumna, plays the headstrong Jing, a dedicated Falun Gong follower who is captured and imprisoned in a labour camp for her beliefs. The film simultaneously follows the story of a Western software developer, James (Jay Clift). While signing a contract with China for his software, James collapses from heart failure and must have an emergency heart transplant.
At first glance, the two plots seem unrelated. But as James discovers the truth about his heart transplant, his life begins to overlap with Jing’s.
The Bleeding Edge begins with James as he meets with Chinese officials to discuss the sale of his computer software. The scene then transitions to Jing, who is returning home to her daughter. In her apartment building, she encounters an old woman who confronts her about her beliefs. When the woman threatens to call the authorities, Jing responds, “I know you will do the right thing.”
Consequently, the woman informs the authorities about Jing. They arrest her and send her to a correctional facility for women. Jing is put in a cell with harsh, uncaring inmates who initially bully her. After one night, the prison warden (Tony Bai) calls Jing to discuss her release. He offers Jing an ultimatum: sign a document agreeing to “transform” her beliefs from Falun Gong and be set free, or remain in prison and endure intense, daily torture.
From the beginning of the film, the audience can see that Jing is a woman of immense determination who will fight for her beliefs. It comes as no surprise when she refuses to sign the warden’s document.
The film transitions back and forth between scenes of Jing’s torture and James’ recovery period in the hospital. While wandering through the hospital, James encounters two other Westerners who discuss their unusually fast organ transplants. Something doesn’t add up for James. He realizes that organs shouldn’t be so readily available. James finally unveils the secret that the communists are harvesting the organs of healthy prisoners and selling them to hospitals. Moreover, the organs are coming from the innocent Falun Gong believers, including his own heart.
The Bleeding Edge follows the remarkable story of James, who discovers the violent truth about the Falun Gong victims. He manages to save thousands of lives by informing them of the communist regime’s plan to arrest them and harvest their organs.
The Bleeding Edge is a powerful film featuring two strong lead roles. Jing is an embodiment of courage and resilience. Despite her torture, Jing refuses to surrender her beliefs. Her faith guides her throughout the film. Regardless of the challenge, she remains true to herself, acting as a strong representation of the Falun Gong principles. The Bleeding Edge is an important film that involves issues of religion, female strength, and corruption.