Jiao qu de niao   2018   China, Taiwan Suburban Birds
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Director:Sheng Qiu
Studio:Chan Films
Writer:Sheng Qiu
IMDb Rating:5.7 (178 votes)
Awards:6 wins & 16 nominations
Duration:118 min
Sheng Qiu  ...  (Director)
Sheng Qiu  ...  (Writer)
Zihan Gong  ...  Xiahao
Lu Huang  ...  Swallow
Mason Lee  ...  Xiahao
Xiaohe  ...  Composer
Ranjun Xu  ...  Cinematographer
Jin Di  ...  Editor
Ching-Sung Liao  ...  Editor
Comments: I couldn't make sense of anything I'd read about this before seeing it. I took that as a good thing, and it essentially meant I was going in blind.

The first 25 minutes I'm in heaven. This is going to be one of those mainland films that observes four guys doing their jobs, going for drinks, jabbing one another. I can't wait for the next line to come out of anyone's mouth because I know it's going to be hilariously depressing and full of personality. Even the body language is loud.

Then it becomes a kid movie. Backstory stuff, metaphorically informing.

I'm depressed so it takes me a while to come around, but I eventually reconnoiter. They turn out to be pretty cool kids. When one young girl shows up in a Ramones T-shirt I'm fully on board.

Soon realize it's a mainland film trying to say something without saying it. Art does that all the time. It's not worth considering unless it works on the surface.

Then there's the "How do these two narratives fit with each other?" aspect. What could have been a character driven slice of life with a nostalgic undercurrent becomes a little too complex.

So I let go and enjoy it for what it is: people.

It's visually creative and very lovely to look at from time to time.

When a feature length debut causes most people to point out they "look forward to what the director does next" it often implies the debut didn't quite work. I think that's true with this film but I do look forward to what the director does next :)

Summary: Some ground subsidence has occurred in a suburban area and a team of engineers, including Hao, is dispatched to investigate the cause. After days of wandering around in the empty suburb looking for answers and carrying his heavy gear, Hao walks into a primary school where he finds a diary chronicling the story of a boy and the separation of what seems to be an intimate group. As the investigation keeps going, Hao discovers that this diary might contain prophecies about his own life.

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