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'Paradise Program' takes unorthodox view at life and death | Updated: 2020-08-10 13:33
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Director Zhang Shanshan answers audience questions after Paradise Program premieres in Parkway Theatre in Baltimore. [Photo provided to China Daily]

On April 10, 2019, director Zhang Shanshan had just finished the premiere of her sci-fi narrative short film Paradise Program and was standing with her producer outside the Parkway Theatre. An elderly African American man with a stick walked slowly toward her and expressing his feelings with tears in his eyes said, "I appreciated you finishing this film and I believe all the techniques in the film will come true someday. Now I can finally sit on the wicker chair in the front yard and chat with my wife again like old days. Telling her that I love her always and forever." It turned out that the elderly gentleman's wife fell into a coma due to illness. The near-future world constructed in the film Paradise Program made him feel deep relief and hope.

Paradise Program poster [Photo provided to China Daily]

The sci-fi narrative short film Paradise Program tells the story of Cyan having a lovely date with his fiancé, Indigo, in the woods, but it's all digital consciousness. The Paradise Program has built a world based on Indigo's memory where the two can visit one another. In reality, Indigo is in a coma and has only 10 minutes left to live before the doctors must shut down his brain activity. If Cyan is in the program when this occurs, he will be trapped in the Paradise Program forever. Indigo knows what is about to happen, and he breaks the rules of the Paradise Program by planning their wedding in the simulation. Time is up. Cyan must make a choice.

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