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Byron Shire
December 7, 2021

The Nightingale

Latest News

Comment: the peace and joy of Christmas

Christmas has always been a special time, and it holds some wonderful memories of early years, when youthful exuberance shaped my world, and it’s a time remembered for the happiness of family gatherings and the sound of kids waking early to see what Santa had delivered. 

Other News

Which values are important for the region?

Public opinion sure is divided about the Dunoon Dam (the DuD). Clearly it does not have sufficient social licence...

Cadwallader, Lyon and Krieg most likely new Far North Coast mayors

With most of the votes cast, and counting over until tomorrow, the New South Wales Electoral Commission stats would suggest that there are three clear winners of the mayoral contests in Ballina, Byron and Lismore Shires.

Lismore Residents Action Group say ‘no’ to Increased flight training

The Lismore Residents Action Group say they do not object to the future development of the airport, they say they are specifically concerned about the considerable increase in aircraft noise caused by flight training.

Former Byron Mayor talks about the ‘Green challenge’

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Issue dividing the community

This bitter division in the Northern Rivers community regarding trains on our tracks or the rail trail could’ve been...

Aussies got drunk more than any other country during the pandemic (are we surprised?)

The Global Drug Survey 2021 reveals that Australians got drunk the most during 2020 and that drug and alcohol habits changed during the pandemic.


There is nothing startlingly new in the story of a little kid and an old man going on a journey of mutual self-discovery – it is a road-trip standard. This one (screening at Pighouse Flicks) is different insofar as it is set in China but directed by the French filmmaker Phillipe Muyl. Returning to a theme that he explored with The Butterfly (2002), Muyl has come up with an elegant piece in which a fine balance is struck between western sentiment and eastern restraint.

The child in question is Ren Xing (Xin Yi Yang), the over-indulged daughter of quarrelling parents whose marriage is at breaking point. When their hectic business schedules take them out of town, Xing is left in the care of her grandfather Zhi Gen Zhu (Baotian Li), who decides to take her with him on a pilgrimage from Beijing to the family’s ancestral home in the country. Inevitably, the pair lose their way in a forest, at which point their bonding commences. It is a lovely idea, touching and observed without falseness – the only trouble for me was that I took longer to warm to the kid than her grandfather did. If she is meant to represent the downside of the People’s Republic’s blind embrace of modernity and consumerism, she succeeds with formica hardness and Muyl tends to be too forgiving of her.

The truly enchanting passages come when they arrive at the village. It may be no more than an idealised recreation of what once was, but it provides a peek into a more gentle, pre-wired world where children don’t need dates to play – they even climb trees, unchaperoned! Xing is overwhelmed by the novelty and pure fun of it all. If Yang is good without entirely winning your heart it may be a reflection of modern childhood rather than her acting, whereas Li holds it all together. And, for those of us who have not travelled to rural China, the cinematography is redolent of what we understand of Oriental serenity.

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