Le promeneur d'oiseau

Le promeneur d'oiseau

DVD - 2015 | French
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The story of an old man and his grand-daughter, who walk together through China with a bird in a cage
Publisher: Montréal : TVA Films, 2015.
Branch Call Number: French DVD FIC Prome
Characteristics: 1 disque vidéo (100 min.) : numérique, sonore, couleur ; 12 cm

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The one-line description does this film a grave injustice. It is much, much more than "a grandfather and his granddaughter walking through China with a caged bird." To start with, they don't "walk through China." They travel by train, bus, and a three-wheel motorized cart, and then walk through a bamboo forest, where they get lost for a while, and sleep one night in a cave, before coming to a river, where a boatman rescues them. The granddaughter, aged around 6-7, but probably acted by an 8-9-year-old, begins the film as a thoroughly spoiled brat of very rich parents (father is an architect; mother a business woman) who live in a palatial apartment in Beijing. There is a great deal of tension between the parents, and the father is in fact contemplating divorce. There is also tension between the father and his father (the grandfather in the film), who once became distracted in a bird market, and lost sight of his infant granddaughter. Without spoiling the movie, I will say that all is finally resolved, with the bratty girl thoroughly redeeming herself. The scenery is magnificent, although the karst outcroppings of Yangshuo (the kind beloved by Chinese painters) are only shown for less than one minute. This is location that the Lonely Planet Guide to China in 1991 called one of the three most beautiful places in China, a description I would support (although it is much more crowded today). The movie is rather predictable, and the principal actors all come across as being new to acting, but they do a reasonable job with a plot and script that is far from subtle or nuanced.

Note that this is a Chinese movie, but our library had a French-language dubbed version (no subtitles).

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