Suburban Birds ★★½

The most distinguishing feature of this Chinese debut feature are its frequent zooms. They are so conspicuous in nature that they’d make Hong Sang-soo blush. Truly, the stuff of self-parody, they at least make a mark, unlike most of this ambling meditation on memory. Qiu, the film’s director, does complicate what initially seems to be a simplistic flashback structure, insisting that the lines between past and present are more porous than they might first appear, but for me there was no grand moment where this film’s two threads coalesced into one. The commentary on urbanization never quite dovetailed with the story of kids who turn rubble into playgrounds, and both plotlines felt emotionally distant throughout.