IMDb > The Bird People in China (1998)

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

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Makoto Shiina (based on a novel by)
Masa Nakamura (screenplay)
View company contact information for The Bird People in China on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
10 June 1998 (Japan) See more »
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:
4 wins & 1 nomination See more »
User Reviews:
Oddly Familiar... See more (33 total) »


  (in credits order)

Directed by
Takashi Miike 
Writing credits
Makoto Shiina (based on a novel by)

Masa Nakamura (screenplay)

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 »
118 min
Filming Locations:


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5 out of 8 people found the following review useful.
Oddly Familiar..., 19 January 2010
Author: bluefish321 from Los Angeles, CA

I've just finished watching The Bird People in China and have skimmed the other reviews on IMDb. Like most of the others, I do enjoy Miike's work, though not to the level of unconditional love that seems to be common here. In my limited experience, around nine Miike films so far, none have been a waste of time and several are fairly amazing. Notably Audition, though definitely not for the faint of heart.

This film left me with mixed emotions. It truly has touching moments, but it also suffers from common issues with Miike films... disjointed structure, unmotivated action (particularly from the Yakuza character), a bit of excessive violence, a kitchen sink approach to ideas... every possibility explored, even when simple would have been more effective, and finally a liberal borrowing from other films. In fact I'm surprised this hasn't been mentioned in other reviews. Miike clearly took much of the premise and emotional content from the movie Local Hero. A corporate drone begrudgingly travels to a remote village and, to his amazement, is touched by the locals and the lifestyle. There's more to the similarities but I don't want to give away too much. Though I will note that he pays homage to his source material by throwing in a Scottish song as a major motif. I also didn't buy into the ending... it seemed to detract from the more realistic aspects of the film.

All of this aside, the film is worth seeing. The scenery is amazing and fairly unique, the photography handsome (considering the budget), Masahiro Motoki as Wada is quite good (as he was in Okuribito/Departures), many of the secondary characters are wonderfully drawn (another Miike specialty), it's genuine and funny at times, and it takes you on an unusual journey, an actual adventure... rarely a dull moment.

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