Man Zou: Beijing to Shanghai is an independently produced feature-length documentary shot in China in the fall of 2008. Arriving in Beijing three weeks after the Olympics, four American friends and their Chinese guide set out on a month long trip to bicycle 1,000 miles of China’s countryside, filming their adventures along the way. Without support vehicles, they were able to capture an intimate and unfiltered look at parts of China that are typically bypassed or flown over. In more ways than one, the bicycle trip is the vehicle to explore the environmental, economic and sociological issues facing China today, as the film intersperses the experiences of the team with the opinions of residents, expats, and academics.
The “Man Zou” philosophy, borrowed from a common phrase in Mandarin that translates literally to “Walk Slow” guided the team as they bicycled through the varied urban and rural areas between Beijing and Shanghai and, in turn, opened a window into some of the many contradictions that exist in China today: old vs. new, rich vs. poor, development vs. environment and taking time to see things along the way vs. moving rapidly in modern world.