Siang Siang is an eight-year-old boy with a severe cleft palate and craniofacial deformity, causing problems with both his respiratory tract and his gullet. Since birth, he has had to “ingest” food (rather than “eating” it) with a nasal tube—hence his nickname “Elephant Boy.” Shan Shan is an eight-y...(Read more)
Siang Siang is an eight-year-old boy with a severe cleft palate and craniofacial deformity, causing problems with both his respiratory tract and his gullet. Since birth, he has had to “ingest” food (rather than “eating” it) with a nasal tube—hence his nickname “Elephant Boy.” Shan Shan is an eight-year-old girl with severe cerebral palsy, raised by her elderly grandmother. She bears physical pain and learns to walk using walker, step by step, staggering and stumbling like a robot, and so people call her “Robogirl.” This documentary is about these two children, their families, and their stories.
This film continues the humanist tradition of Taiwanese documentaries by presenting close-ups with nobody in the foreground and letting society occupy the frame in the background. In particular, it arouses a collective consciousness, pathos, and self-reflection from ordinary Taiwanese by projecting what is “uniquely Taiwanese” on screen. This is a classical approach in Taiwanese documentary history, first established with Wu Yi-Feng’s Moon Children (1990), which itself inspired Lin Yu-Hsien, director of this film, to start his filmmaking career. The subjects of this film are two physically disabled children, often regarded as “strange,” “abnormal,” or “grotesque” and thus excluded by mainstream society. Both children are from underclass families. For example, Hsiang’s father is a working-class laborer who has to toil long hours with little pay for his son’s surgery. To raise money for Shang’s medical treatment, her father makes quick money illegally and gets imprisoned, with the burden of caring for Shang falling to her grandmother, thus showcasing the growing issue of “skipped generation families” in Taiwan. After turning his lens on athletes’ lively bodies in Jump Boys (2004), Lin Yu-Hsien turns to disabled bodies without making spectacles of them, employing a humanistic narrative which accentuates the importance of social safety net.
|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：||YU Kuo-Ting, James JIN, Wenny WANG|
|KUO Le-Hsing, LIN Yu-Hsien|
|Editor：||Jump Boys Films|
Public Service & Marketing Dept, Public Television Service
2006 Taipei Film Festival