A drama based on the autobiography by Li Cunxin. At the age of 11, Li was plucked from a poor Chinese village by Madame Mao's cultural delegates and taken to Beijing to study ballet. In ... See full summary »
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A drama based on the autobiography by Li Cunxin. At the age of 11, Li was plucked from a poor Chinese village by Madame Mao's cultural delegates and taken to Beijing to study ballet. In 1979, during a cultural exchange to Texas, he fell in love with an American woman. Two years later, he managed to defect and went on to perform as a principal dancer for the Houston Ballet and as a principal artist with the Australian Ballet. Written by
Chi Cao's parents were two of Cunxin Li's former teachers at the Beijing Dance Academy. Li wanted Cao to portray him. See more »
When Ben takes Li to the Houston Galleria to buy new clothes, he uses an ATM to get some cash. Although this scene takes place in the early 80's, the money that comes out features the newly designed $20 bill which was not introduced until 2006. See more »
In a village of China, the eleven year-old Li Cunxin is selected by the Comunist Party to study ballet at the Madame Mao's Dance Academy in Beijing. Years later, he travels to Houston in a cultural exchange program invited by the artistic director Ben Stevenson (Bruce Greenwood) and he is promoted to principal dancer of the Houston Ballet. Meanwhile he secretly dates and falls in love with the dancer Elizabeth Mackey (Amanda Schull).
When the China's government asks Li Cunxin (Chi Cao) to return to his country, he marries Liz and defects to USA. He is forbidden to return to China and has no news of his parents and family. Meanwhile, his marriage with Liz ends and he misses his parents. But five years later, he has a great surprise during a performance.
"Mao's Last Dancer" is a film about the true story of the Chinese ballet dancer Li Cunxin. The engaging biography of Li Cunxin is an example of discipline and strength associated with courage to make the right decisions, and it is amazing how a boy from a poor village in China could have become a great ballerino in the West.
Bruce Greenwood, Kyle MacLachlan and Joan Chen are well known actors and are fantastic, but Chi Cao, Chengwu Guo and the rest of the cast and dancers have also top-notch performances. Everything is perfect in this film, from the direction of Bruce Beresford to the cinematography and art direction. My vote is ten.
Title (Brazil): "O Último Bailarino de Mao" ("The Last Ballerino of Mao")
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