This is a documentary about four classmates from an experimental “inclusive education” program, launched and founded by Wu Shwu-Mey, a professor and education activist. This program spans the period from kindergarten to elementary school, and a third of students are physically or mentally challenged...(Read more)
This is a documentary about four classmates from an experimental “inclusive education” program, launched and founded by Wu Shwu-Mey, a professor and education activist. This program spans the period from kindergarten to elementary school, and a third of students are physically or mentally challenged. 19 years later, these students are all 22, the two “normal” classmates are at college, while the two “challenged” students have graduated from special-needs high schools and moved on to steady jobs. Wu organizes a reunion for them, and interviews them about how the experience of the program affected and shaped their lives.
The founder of the “inclusive education” program, Wu Shwu-Mey, is also the director of this documentary. After 20 years of such programs, she has found that in contrast to the generally negative impression, “inclusive education” really works. The “normal” kids don’t think of the challenged kids as “abnormal”; they play and study together, and accept and assist one another. They become friends rather than foes. This is why Wu made this film. She tries to let the audience witness the fact that, given a chance, one can get along with and be friendly to those who are different—that is, the “Others.” One can realize that so-called “normality” and “abnormality” are actually social constructs, and the line that separates the two is arbitrary and artificial. Unlike when isolated and given a special curriculum—“exclusive education”—the challenged children develop well in inclusive classes, while the “normal” children in the program grow up into “abnormal” adults, in the sense that they feel “unusual” compassion for and share companionship with “the strange” in their later lives.
Wu used a V8 to record scenes of the inclusive classes from the very beginning, interweaving clips in this film and projecting it in the classmates’ reunion. Thus, this film is both a documentary spanning 19 years and a sort of meta-movie. Wu is a humanist and a progressive liberal when it comes to issues of child-rearing, education, social issues, and “in-group”/“out-group” relationships. However, one may be sensitive to the sadly inevitable class divide between the classmates: while the normal-development kids go on to college, the challenged kids now work as helpers or laborers.
|DVD source：||R.O.C. Ministry of Foreign Affairs.|
|Taiwan Academies, Ministry of Culture, R.O.C. please contact Embassies, Representative Offices of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, R.O.C.|
|Subtitle：||Chinese, English, French, Spanish|
|Producer：||Fulung Foundation for Promoting Inclusive Schooling|
|WU Shwu-Mey, CHENG Yao-Ting, LIU Jia-Wen|
|Editor：||CHENG Yao-Ting, LIU Jia-Wen|
|Music：||LUO Zheng-Rong, CHENG Yao-Ting|
2010 New York International Independent Film and Video Festival
2010 Women Make Waves Film Festival