This first feature by Chinese writer-director Qiu Sheng merits the term “promising,” inspiring good will with its gentle tone and novel narrative form. The film promises more than it delivers, however; like many first-time filmmakers, Qiu is better at generating ideas than seeing them through to satisfying ends. The first half hour follows a group of surveyors in a rapidly developing suburb as they investigate sinkholes by day and leisurely get drunk at night. When one of the surveyors discovers a local schoolchild’s abandoned diary, Qiu switches gears to present scenes from the kid’s life, and the movie becomes an understated ode to the pleasures of childhood. All of this is surprisingly uncynical for a contemporary Chinese art movie; Qiu presents modernization and its attendant feelings of displacement as simply part of life, as opposed to a cause for anger or despair. He also elicits pleasingly sincere performances from both children and adults. In Mandarin with subtitles.