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CYCLING ANGELS 單車天使 (2016)

TAIWAN|2016|DOCUMENTARY|82 min

DIRECTOR: Paul Chu

PRODUCER: Joy Lee

PRESENTED BY: Gazing Element

SYNOPSIS

Every summer, kids as young as eight of the Xi-Yi children’s shelter get on their bicycles at their own volition and embark on a 1200km tour to round Taiwan. Despite accusations of the intent to torment children amidst the general disapproval of associate institutions, the principal of the shelter, Mr. Wu chooses to lead the children on this journey, which also covers a mountainous climb to heights some 2600m above sea level, because he believes it’s what the children needs to rehabilitate them from their troubled past.

After five tours, they had gotten bored of rounding Taiwan and decided to ride some 3200km from Beijing to Xiamen in 2012. Again, attempts of discouragement from even people who has supported the Taiwanese tours could not dissuade principal Wu.

Whilst many adult volunteers of the tour admit to the mild positive effects they have observed on the children during this 14-day tour, some wonder if children at such a young age can recognize the delayed benefits of such an event. This is where we begin to realize the real motivations behind some of the young riders.

“I don’t like riding on these tours at all” expressed one of the kids. Upon answering then why did he choose to ride his third tour, he replied “Because the route takes us through Chiayi, my home town. Maybe I’ll get to see my mother on her way to the market.

While some of the real motivations behind the children are varying extensions of the confidence building that Mr. Wu has preached about, a unique few was simply using this tour as an opportunity to escape the shelter’s custody and ride back home. For whatever the reasons, what is common among the kids, is that this is a journey of great courage, perseverance to ultimately achieve a dream most of us take for granted - to find their way home.

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