Ben Niao

The Foolish Bird
‘Why do you want to enter the Police Academy?’ · ‘Because it sounds safe.’

For the sake of her absent mother, 16-year-old Lynn attempts to get into the local police academy. Meanwhile, she keeps her head above water financially by getting caught up in some shady business involving stolen cell phones. When her only friend May suddenly stops being in touch, the introverted student is haunted by the feeling that her life is spiralling out of control. Money is an all-pervasive topic in her environment. Surrounded by corruption, sexual violence and the omnipresence of new media, Lynn searches for a path through the labyrinth of the present. Precise images tell a story of the isolation and lack of perspective prevalent in a small city in today’s China.
by Huang Ji, Ryuji Otsuka
with Yao Honggui, Xiao Liqiao, Yao Fang, Huang Zifan, Yan Shixiang, Liu Xiaoling
China 2017 Mandarin 118’ Colour


  • Yao Honggui (Lynn)
  • Xiao Liqiao (Dawei)
  • Yao Fang (May)
  • Huang Zifan (Lynn's Gradfather)
  • Yan Shixiang (Lynn's Grandmother)
  • Liu Xiaoling (Lynn's Mother)


Written and Directed by Huang Ji, Ryuji Otsuka
Cinematography Ryuji Otsuka
Editing Liao Chingsung
Music Lim Giong
Sound Wang Changrui
Producers Hsu Hsiaoming, Ruby Chen, Ryuji Otsuka
Co-Producers Lee Yuting, Miao Qijia

Produced by

Coolie Films Corporation

Yellow-Green Pi

Huang Ji

Born in Hunan province, China in 1984, she studied screenwriting at the Beijing Film Academy before making her first documentary Underground in 2005. Her short film The Warmth of Orange Peel screened in the Berlinale Generation programme in 2010. Her debut feature film Egg and Stone, which she made exclusively with non-professional actors in her hometown, premiered at Rotterdam where it won the Hivos Tiger Award. Her documentary Trace screened at the Hong Kong International Film Festival in 2013.


2005 Dixia (Underground) 2010 Juzipi de wendu (The Warmth of Orange Peel) 2012 Jidan he shitou (Egg and Stone) 2013 Henji (Trace) 2017 Ben niao (The Foolish Bird)

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2017

Ryuji Otsuka

Born in Tokyo, Japan in 1972, he began his career making documentaries for Japanese television. In 2005 he relocated to China where he began making his own films. His feature film debut Lingling’s Garden won the Audience Award at the Cologne Chinese Film Festival. He has also worked as a cinematographer on films including The Warmth of Orange Peel and Egg and Stone by Huang Ji, with whom he co-directed the documentary Trace. He subsequently made his first documentary as a solo director and, in 2015, participated in Berlinale Talents.


2009 Lingling de huayuan (Lingling's Garden) 2013 Henji (Trace) 2014 Beijing Mayi (Beijing Ants) 2017 Ben Niao (The Foolish Bird)

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2017