7.3/10
3,945
47 user 65 critic

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress (2002)

Xiao cai feng (original title)
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 »

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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 win & 8 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Little Chinese Seamstress
...
Ma
...
Luo
...
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
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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


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Details

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Language:

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Release Date:

9 October 2002 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$16,694, 31 July 2005, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$665,260, 22 January 2006
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

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Sound Mix:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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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

String quartet
opus 131
Composed by Ludwig van Beethoven
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User Reviews

 
A sheer delight
26 January 2003 | by See all my reviews

Don't be mislead into thinking that a film about the Chinese Cultural Revolution has to be heavy. This one is delightfully light, at times quite funny, but not trivial.

Describing one film review in Hong Kong serves well to describe the film itself. The critic used 90% of the review to say how the film is unrealistic, somewhat over-literary, a bit over-romantic, etc. In the last paragraph, however, despite everything that he said before, he gave the film top rating simply because it was so beautifully made.

The three young people are such a joy to watch. The message I get (which may not be the one intended by the director) is that no matter under what circumstances, youthfulness will prevail. For those who follow the international movie scene, Zhou Xun and Liu Ye wouldn't be total strangers. Chen Kun, the third of the trio, put up an equally sparkling performance. All the supporting roles are great too, and there are quite a few of them.

The scenery is breathtaking and the ending (which of course I won't give away) is very poetic.

It's one of the best, if not the best, "Chinese" film I've ever seen (Chinese in quotes because it's really French, and represents France in the Golden Globe, losing, narrowly I hope, to Almodovar's masterpiece Talk to Her).


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