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The Bird People in China (1998)
"Chûgoku no chôjin" (original title)

7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 3,496 users  
Reviews: 31 user | 37 critic

A salaryman and yakuza are each sent by their bosses to a remote Chinese village but discover more then they expected.

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(screenplay), (novel)
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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Renji Ishibashi ...
...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Michiko Kichise
Yûichi Minato ...
(as Yuuichi Minato)
Tomohiko Okuda
Manzô Shinra
Li Li Wang ...
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Storyline

A young Japanese salaryman is sent by his company to a remote Chinese village to evaluate precious Jade that is found there, but before he arrives meets the yakuza who was sent to tail him to protect his bosses interest in the company. When the men finally arrive their mission become sidetracked by their interest in a mysterious young village girl, her haunting English language song and the secret that makes men fly like birds. Written by Danny Leary

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Release Date:

10 June 1998 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

The Bird People in China  »

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User Reviews

 
A magical mystery tour
15 January 2005 | by (Planet Earth) – See all my reviews

"The Bird People in China" is one of those films you hear very little about, but that piques your curiosity after reading the synopsis. And then you watch it and realize what a gem it is.

Japanese filmmaker Takashi Miike is renowned for his ultra-violent films. This is a delightful departure for him and proves what a tremendously versatile director he is. Yes, there are some snippets of violence, including a rather brutal machete attack. But that's all offset by the film's wonderfully whimsical nature.

The film revolves around a Japanese businessman sent to a remote Chinese village to inspect the jade mines for his company. Along for the ride is a yakuza man to ensure the businessman's company's debt is paid off.

The film not only chronicles their colorful journey - those turtles must be seen to be believed - but then taps into the characters' psyches as they reach the village and suddenly find themselves trapped there. These two disparate men both find themselves enchanted by this magical place.

I won't give away much more of the story because you really should watch this film. Miike injects magical realism into his story and some moments are beautiful in every sense of the word. There's also plenty of humor. The van scene is positively hilarious, especially given the driver's deadpan reaction.

The film's very much about our need to dream. But it also tackles important issues such as the encroachment of civilization and the importance of keeping some places pristine and innocent, no matter how valuable they might be to the rest of the world.

If you like interesting foreign-language films that open a whole new world, then do yourself a favor, see this film. You will not be disappointed.


28 of 31 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Why isnt this movie known? An_elephant
Where can I find the region 2 DVD? geraldwijngaart
chinese food-flashbacks gondwana
English song?! the_movie_maniac
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This movie reminds me of Local Hero sartor023
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