The Bird People in China

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The Bird People in China
Takashi Miike, 1998
Japan | Japanese | 119 minutes

Due to the catastrophic events in Japan, Takashi Miike is no longer able to attend the upcoming series. He sends his sincere regrets.

The film that changed the perception of Miike within Japan as merely a V-cinema director and yakuza movie specialist, Bird People, like many of the director’s works, tells the story of a displaced Japanese protagonist who finds a new home in unfamiliar surroundings. Wada (Masahiro Motoki, Departures) is a salaryman with a gem corporation, sent to the remotest regions of China to locate a jade deposit, but he’s hopeless outside his comfortable Tokyo surroundings. And when his Japanese-speaking Chinese guide (Japanese-American actor Mako) loses his memory, things take a turn for the worse and the group—including a middle-aged yakuza (Miike regular Renji Ishibashi) who’s also after the treasure—becomes completely lost. But soon the trio arrive at a mountaintop village whose inhabitants are rumored to have the power of flight, and meet a blue-eyed Chinese girl who may hold the key to a decades-old mystery, one which will change Wada and his companions forever. A beautifully told fable, shot entirely on location, that marked a major turning point in Miike’s career.

Series: Shinjuku Outlaw: 13 From Takashi Miike

Venue: Walter Reade Theater

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