Kwan short calls for 'respect'

'Petals' director Stanley Kwan says quake a call for an end to corruption

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HONG KONG --"Petals," a short film by Hong Kong director Stanley Kwan, depicts an expectant Chinese mother delivering her child at the moment the deadly May 12 quake hits--only she's not in Sichuan, where the quake killed 70,000 Chinese.

Kwan ("Everlasting Regret") said the children killed in the collapse of shoddily built Sichuan schools were much on his mind when he wrote and directed the Cantonese-language film starring Aaron Kwock for the Shanghai Media Group series "Action 1/2008."

“Whatever happened has happened," Kwan told The Hollywood Reporter. "But we have to treat life and children with more respect. The earthquake was a turning point for us-–the Chinese government and especially the Chinese people–to combat corruption and to stop being self-serving.”

China has suffered much negative attention this year for its handling of severe snowstorms, its Olympic preparations and unrest in Tibet, and now for the collapsed schools.

"Criticisms should serve as reminders that we should neither be smug about our strengths nor feel inferior about our weaknesses,” Kwan said.

The film also stars 10-year-old Xu Jiao ("CJ7") as the delivering mother's sister, who lifts fallen flowers from the ground in a symbolic gesture of respect for lost life