In a Chinese Buddhist orphanage in Africa, the film follows Enock Alu, a Malawian teenager from a rural village growing up between the contrasting worlds of his traditional African culture and the strict discipline of the Confucian, Buddhist value system of the Chinese.
Home to around 300 orphans, it’s a rigorous environment with stringent Buddhist and Mandarin study, and Shaolin Kung Fu training. Enock/Alu becomes extremely proficient in acrobatics – a star performer for the orphanage’s world-touring cultural activities.
But now, almost 16, he has to make a choice: to reconnect with his African culture and language, or sign up for five years of study in Taiwan.
Against the backdrop of China’s global rise and influence in Africa, the film is a subtle exploration of the forces of cultural soft power on the identity and imagination of an African boy and his school friends growing up between two cultures.