7.6/10
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32 user 36 critic

Chûgoku no chôjin (1998)

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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(based on a novel by), (screenplay)
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4 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
... Wada
Renji Ishibashi ... Ujiie
... Shen
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Yûichi Minato ... (as Yuuichi Minato)
Tomohiko Okuda
Manzô Shinra
Li Li Wang ... Yan, Si-chang
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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 he meets up with yakuza who was sent to tail him to protect his boss's interest in the company. When the men finally arrive their mission becomes 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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1.85 : 1
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User Reviews

 
Oddly Familiar...
19 January 2010 | by See all my reviews

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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