When a film opens with its lead announcing in voiceover that the summer will never end, the beast of cliche rears its deadly horns. Sho Miyake’s decision to have wayward slacker Boku (Tasuku Emoto) declare as such as his film’s opening salvo would surely induce groans in any discerning viewer.
And Your Bird Can Sing is not concerned with cliche; its mind is not much occupied in regard to formality or expectation. This is the finest lazy filmmaking – short-lived music genre ‘chillwave’ rendered in visual form. Its baggily-clothed characters drenched in sweat as heat pulsates in the air of every frame, it is conceivable that said summer will truly never end.
Bird depicts the amorphous bond that forms between three lost young souls in modern Japan – Boku, his roommate Shizuo (Shota Sometani) and his bookstore colleague Sachiko (Shizuka Ishibashi) – who find deep affection and fulfilment in the small nothings that fill their days.
Ostensibly a love triangle, the leads never descend into jealousy or betrayal. Miyake depicts the fluidity and ease with which young people relate as sex, love and friendship intermingle into something deeper. Boku dates Sachiko, though Sachiko and Shizuo share an attraction – but the bond between the roommates never fractures and a war for Sachiko’s hand never transpires.
With a thoroughly modern and progressive outlook, Bird thrives in the transcendent joy of dancing until dawn or sharing cans of beer in the sun. Without ever cracking outright jokes, the script is a sparkling comedic goldmine and its cast’s collective physicality exudes absurdity and melancholy in equal measure.
A laissez-faire masterpiece of the highest order, Miyake’s blissful mood piece captures a feeling both immediately specific and wholly universal. Bird understands what it means to be a wayward twenty-something, thriving on the sleepy complications therein.
CAST: Tasuku Emoto, Shizuka Ishibashi, Shota Sometani, Masato Hagiwara, Makiko Watanabe
DIRECTOR: Sho Miyake
WRITER: Sho Miyake
SYNOPSIS: Sachiko works in a bookstore in a harbour town on Hokkaido, where a perpetually late co-worker named Boku catches her eye. After spending a night in the bunk bed of his minuscule apartment, Sachiko also meets Boku’s unemployed roommate Shizuo.