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Suburban Birds

Jiao qu de niao

Stand by Me meets Kafka in this dreamy treat from debut director Qiu Sheng, in which time is a flat pretzel.

Dir-Scr Qiu Sheng
Prod Patrick Mao Huang, Chen Jingsu
With Mason Lee, Lu Huang, Zihan Gong
China
2018
118min
Sales Luxbox
Subtitles

Hua, a smart young engineer, is checking the subsidence in a town where buildings have started tilting and sinkholes are appearing. When he enters an evacuated school, he finds the diary of a young boy who also happens to be named Hua. From there, we follow the story of the boy and his mates, and the journey they embark on when their friend Fatty disappears. In a move that will disorientate and delight, the two stories run in parallel, where past and present play out simultaneously and chronology is never linear. Qiu Sheng’s debut film performs an entrancing excavation of human behaviour and the romantic foundations that underpin it. It’s funny, formally experimental and, ultimately, runs deep.

Kate Taylor

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