MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Down 22,509 this week

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress (2002)
"Xiao cai feng" (original title)

7.2
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.2/10 from 3,534 users   Metascore: 65/100
Reviews: 46 user | 64 critic | 22 from Metacritic.com

Two youths sent for a Maoist "re-education" in the mountains fall in love with the village tailor's granddaughter.

Director:

Writers:

(novel), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
0Check in
0Share...

On Disc

at Amazon

Related News

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 43 titles
created 28 Dec 2011
 
a list of 49 titles
created 11 Aug 2012
 
a list of 40 titles
created 16 Mar 2013
 
a list of 34 titles
created 04 Apr 2013
 
a list of 40 titles
created 10 months ago
 

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress (2002)

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress (2002) on IMDb 7.2/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress.
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 win & 7 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Suzhou River (2000)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

The river Suzhou that flows through Shanghai is a reservoir of filth, chaos and poverty, but also a meeting place for memories and secrets. Lou Ye, who spent his youth on the banks of the ... See full summary »

Director: Ye Lou
Stars: Xun Zhou, Hongshen Jia, Zhongkai Hua
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

For no apparent reason, a mute young woman assaults a youth who delivers water on his bicycle, injuring him and ruining his bike. Surprisingly, she asks him to feed her fish while she is in... See full summary »

Director: Jiang Xiao
Stars: Yu Xia, Haibin Li, Yijing Zhang
Stolen Life (2005)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

When Yan'ni starts college she believes she is embarking on a new life away from her family-and she is, but not the new beginning she anticipates. Once at school, she immediately meets Muyu... See full summary »

Director: Shaohong Li
Stars: Ming Cai, Xiaoming Su, Jun Wu
Niu-Peng (1989)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

In August 1966, the Cultural Revolution in full swing, 13-year-old Tian Ben is arrested for playing a pop record; he's sent to a remote mountain camp in Niu-Peng. There he's called "Four ... See full summary »

Director: Sijie Dai
Stars: Liang Yi Guo, Quan Ngieu Tieu, Cheung Siang Chang
The Lover (1992)
Biography | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

In 1929 French Indochina, a French teenage girl embarks on a reckless and forbidden romance with a wealthy, older Chinese man, each knowing that knowledge of their affair will bring drastic consequences to each other.

Director: Jean-Jacques Annaud
Stars: Jane March, Tony Leung Ka Fai, Frédérique Meininger
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A seventeen-year-old country boy working in Beijing as a courier has his bicycle stolen, and finds it with a schoolboy his age.

Director: Xiaoshuai Wang
Stars: Lin Cui, Xun Zhou, Bin Li
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

At the house of a famous Chinese botanist teacher his daughter and a female intern fall in love with each other - a forbidden love that must be kept secret.

Director: Sijie Dai
Stars: Mylène Jampanoï, Xiao Ran Li, Ling Dong Fu
Summer Palace (2006)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Country girl Yu Hong leaves her village, her family and her lover to study in Beijing. At university, she discovers an intense world of sexual freedom and forbidden pleasure. Enraptured, ... See full summary »

Director: Ye Lou
Stars: Xueyun Bai, Lin Cui, Yihong Duan
The Knot (2006)
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
Director: Li Yin
Stars: Kun Chen, Bingbing Li, Steven Cheung
Vatel (2000)
Biography | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

In 1671, with war brewing with Holland, a penniless prince invites Louis XIV to three days of festivities at a chateau in Chantilly. The prince wants a commission as a general, so the ... See full summary »

Director: Roland Joffé
Stars: Gérard Depardieu, Uma Thurman, Tim Roth
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

When a mysterious death occurs, the lives of five unexpected strangers are suddenly intertwined together. A drug trafficking crime is unveiled, and through the twist and turns of the ... See full summary »

Director: Baoping Cao
Stars: Xun Zhou, Chao Deng, Hanyu Zhang
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A prostitute named Tong Tong enters the life of a man who runs a barbecue pork restaurant and quickly begins to ruin his life, as well as the life of his two rotund sons, and a local gangster.

Director: Fruit Chan
Stars: Xun Zhou, Glen Chin, You-Nam Wong
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Little Chinese Seamstress
...
Ma
...
Luo
Shuangbao Wang ...
Head of the Village
Zhijun Cong ...
Old Tailor
Hongwei Wang ...
Four Eyes
Xiong Xiao ...
Mother of Four Eyes
Zuohui Tang ...
Old Mill Worker
Wei Chen ...
Wife of the Head of the Village
Tianlu Chen ...
Director of the Commune
Qing-yun Fan ...
Doctor
Jie Min ...
Peasant
He Zhang ...
Peasant
Yukun Xu ...
Peasant
Lina Mei ...
Female Villager
Edit

Storyline

In 1971 China, in the lingering grip of the cultural revolution, two university students, Luo and Ma, are sent to a mountain mining village as part of their reeducation duty to purge them of their classical western oriented education. Amid the backbreaking work and stifling ignorance of the community, the two boys find that music, and the presence of the beautiful local young women are the only pleasant things in their miserable life. However, none compare to the young seamstress granddaughter of the local tailor. Stealing a departing student's secret cache of forbidden books of classic western literature such as the works of Honore de Balzac, they set about to woo her and teach her things she had never imagined. In doing so, they start a journey that would profoundly change her perspective on her world and teach the boys about the power of literature and their own ability to change their world in truly revolutionary ways. Written by Kenneth Chisholm (kchishol@rogers.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

|

Language:

|

Release Date:

9 October 2002 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$16,694 (USA) (29 July 2005)

Gross:

$665,260 (USA) (20 January 2006)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

|

Sound Mix:

|

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Filming was allowed in China after seven months negotiations with the authorities, but any projection on Chinese territory was banned. See more »

Soundtracks

Divertissement
K334
Composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
A Nostalgic Look at Young People Impacted by the Cultural Revolution
20 September 2005 | by (Queens, NY) – See all my reviews

"Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress (Xiao cai feng)" raises the awkward situation of commenting on a semi-autobiographical story which was originally written, then adapted and directed by the person who lived it in the same, beautiful locations where the events that inspired Sijie Dai took place. How much is fiction and how much is docu-drama? And I haven't read the book so I don't know how much he changed.

The basics of the story would seem like a 1940's sci fi allegory of a totalitarian, anti-intellectual society if the Cultural Revolution under the here ubiquitously revered ruler Mao Tse Tung hadn't actually happened, with its anti-literate class-based revenge of kicking the children of the perceived elite out of the cities to rural areas for re-education at rigorous manual labor. In outline, his story is like a real life "Fahrenheit 451" and "the Little Seamstress," the teen ager, played charmingly by Xun Zhou, who gets caught up in a triangle between the out-of-towners, like "Ninotchka." She, startlingly, has far more ambition than the loyal peasant girl in "The Road Home."

So it's hard to tell if the strong condescension in the tone to the local peasantry is what the two young men finally learn to overcome or is somewhat shown to be just as endemic in the Communist Party as is seen at the end they were suppressing the beauty of local traditions almost as much as intellectual influences. Because the premise that transforming aesthetics can only come from outside influences through movies, fashion and Western literature and music just seems anthropologically naive as they poke fun at and trick the locals. We do see that the peasants appreciate story telling, sewing and songs - but only of the most earthy kind until the re-educated sneak in their experiences, disguised as homages to Lenin or Mao. For example, with the almost universality of stringed instruments in human culture, it's hard to believe that peasants would be that skeptical when first exposed to a violin.

The film is at its strongest, and loveliest, when it sticks to the personal relationships that result from contacts with the locals, as human nature is more powerful than ideology and youth is simply irrepressible and non-Orwellian. The romantic triangle plays out beautifully and gently demonstrates male instincts for Pygmalion control, irrespective of politics. The story affirms the Law of Unintended Consequences, heavily symbolized at the end with the coming of a dam on the river that will have the same effect on these towns as the TVA had on now forgotten communities in Appalachia.

This tender and poignant nostalgia is a chronological and thematic prequel to the less optimistic "The World (Shijie)" in showing the impact of globalization on China and its people.


8 of 15 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
If only ... (humour) Red_Menace
Question about the language for US release... mippolit
For those that have read the book... manny_the_uncanny
'We both loved her, but in diferent ways' xlaituvalmetx
Wow- what a film..exceptionally moving ledgehall
DVD release Red_Menace

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?