IMDb > The Bird People in China (1998)

The Bird People in China (1998) More at IMDbPro »Chûgoku no chôjin (original title)


Overview

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Director:
Writers:
Masa Nakamura (screenplay)
Makoto Shiina (novel)
Contact:
View company contact information for The Bird People in China on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
10 June 1998 (Japan) See more »
Plot:
A salaryman and yakuza are each sent by their bosses to a remote Chinese village but discover more then they expected. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
4 wins & 1 nomination See more »
User Reviews:
Another Masterpiece from the Indefatigable Miike (Possibly My Favorite of His) See more (31 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order)

Directed by
Takashi Miike 
 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Masa Nakamura  screenplay
Makoto Shiina  novel

Produced by
Yasuhiko Furusato .... producer
Toshiaki Nakazawa .... producer
Seiha Ohji .... producer
 
Original Music by
Kôji Endô 
 
Cinematography by
Hideo Yamamoto 
 
Film Editing by
Yasushi Shimamura  (as Taiji Shimamura)
 
Production Design by
Keiko Mitsumatsu 
 
Set Decoration by
Tatsuo Ozeki 
 
Makeup Department
Yûichi Matsui .... special makeup effects artist
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Bunmei Katô .... assistant director
 
Sound Department
Jun Nakamura .... sound re-recording mixer
Jun Nakamura .... sound recordist
Kenji Shibasaki .... sound effects
 

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Chûgoku no chôjin" - Japan (original title)
See more »
Runtime:
118 min
Country:
Language:
Filming Locations:

FAQ

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10 out of 14 people found the following review useful.
Another Masterpiece from the Indefatigable Miike (Possibly My Favorite of His), 7 January 2006
Author: groucho_de_sade from Houston, TX (where the cows come from)

Takashi Miike is the living definition of the word "indefatigable". In a career that began in the early 1990s, he has directed a staggering number of films in a mind-boggling array of different genres, from horror to family films, even a musical (!); but Miike is probably best known for his Yakuza (Japanese gangster) films. The likes of FUDOH, ICHI, and DEAD OR ALIVE, with their over-the-top violence and surreal (often disgusting) setpieces, are Miike's chief claim to fame. In one respect that's a pity, because every once in a while, Miike will produce a wild card, and BIRD PEOPLE IN CHINA is a film that fits into that latter category. The man character is a young Japanese executive named Mr. Wada (Masahiro Motoki), who is sent by his boss to a remote region in the wilds of China to survey a supposedly rich jade mine. He is joined on his trip by a Yakuza named Ujiie (Renji Ishibashi), who plans on taking the jade as payment for some outstanding debts on the part of Wada's boss. After they are taken as far as the train will go, Wada and Ujiie are met by their guide, the absent-minded Mr. Shen (scene-stealer Mako), who takes them through the rugged, unsettled terrain of rural China, first on foot, and then on a raft pulled by several huge sea turtles. When the three men finally reach their destination, a village left untouched by the ravages of industrialization, Wada and Ujiie have a few epiphanies that will prove to make leaving rather difficult. It sounds like a simple story, and it is, but there's something about this film that makes it great, but that I find hard to articulate. No doubt the startlingly beautiful cinematography by Hideo Yamamoto has a lot to do with the film's hypnotic quality. And then there's the genuinely touching story of two men who discover a whole other side to themselves that they were never previously aware existed. And finally, the film's deft blend of genres is seamless: it shifts gears from a screwball/buddy comedy to a jungle-bound adventure to an existential rumination on identity and civilization, finally ending on a dream-like note of perfect serenity. There is one scene of Yakuza violence that seems inserted to remind us that we're watching a Miike film, but it's fleeting and, compared to some of what can be found elsewhere in his films, it's utterly tame and inoffensive. There's also an ecological message packed into the mix. So, final verdict: for fans of Miike who wonder what else the man is capable of, I highly recommend BIRD PEOPLE IN CHINA, surely the gentlest and most poignant of all the man's movies (at least that I've seen). For the truly open-minded aficionado, there is much to be enjoyed here.

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