Also known as
Chûgoku no Chôjin
Japan [1998] - 118m
Drama, Crime
Directed by
More info on
The Bird People in China poster


November 03, 2017


This is one of Miike's more serious efforts. If you lean more to the arthouse side of cinema, and you've been wanting to sample some Miike films, this is a pretty good place to start. Miike's usual excess is toned down but not entirely absent and the second half does show a more mature, restrained side of Miike that's missing from his more popular films.

A Japanese businessman is sent to China, where he is tasked to screen a possible jade deposit. He is joined by a Yakuza member who has to make sure the man does his job. The trip to Yun Nan is long and perilous, and while the two can't really stand each other, a bond does begin to form.

Watching the shifting dynamics between the characters is interesting, the setting is beautiful, and the second half is surprisingly restrained and stylish. The film looks a bit murky though, with colors that don't pop enough to do justice to the beauty of the Chinese countryside. A digital restoration might restore some of its former glory, but the core qualities are still there. A very good Miike, that stops just short of being a personal favorite.

More by the director

Takashi Miike