Two years ago, four young Americans set out with their Chinese guide on a bike ride that would take them 1000 kilometers and deep into China's countryside.
Setting out from a barely post-Olympics and pristine Beijing, filmmaker Jason Reid and friends make their way from the country's political brain down to its pulsing, dynamic heart, China's other great metropolis, Shanghai. With nothing but bicycles, a map and an open mind, they set out on a journey steeped in the Chinese saying "man zou." Literally translated as "walk slow" this common phrase in Mandarin, most often used as a farewell and a reminder to take care, serves as a guiding philosophy to Jason and his band of bikers. With this at the fore and filming as they go, they open a window to everyday life in contemporary China, as they slowly ride, three feet from the ground, through this rapidly changing and often contradictory world.
Two years on and the journey is finally complete with the release of their 86-minute documentary. "Man Zou: Beijing to Shanghai" follows their personal experience and is interspersed with interviews and commentary by the likes of author Ma Jun and University of Washington professor Kam Wing Chan on the social and environmental issues faced by China and its people.
Read on to find out more, and see the video after the jump...
On the Man Zou: Beijing to Shanghai website, the team state that "the ultimate goal of Man Zou is to educate, entertain, inspire and spark conversation about China and its future," and with its original and beautifully-filmed content and sensitive, considered editing, it achieves just that.
US Public TV channel KCTS9 is kindly streaming the documentary until January 2, 2011. You can either check it out below or head to their website to watch Man Zou: Beijing to Shanghai for free and remember, "Be not afraid of going slowly, be only afraid of standing still" (Chinese proverb).
Man zou everyone!