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 ...
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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 Li and Ben are driving past downtown, the camera motion indicates they are southbound on Interstate 45 (Gulf Freeway), with the Allen Parkway/Milam St exit in view, and downtown Houston on the left (east). Li is clearly looking upward out of the passenger window, facing west, away from downtown, as he utters, "Fantastic". Perhaps he was reacting to the Allen Parkway and Buffalo Bayou, which are west of that location, but it was not evident in the shot. See more »
It's by no means the perfect film; however, when it works, your heart will soar, and you might start believing in the magic of movies again. It's been a great year for showcasing classical music, framing it with hilarious comedy, such as "Le Concert", and now with the beauty and exuberance of ballet in "Mao's Last Dancer", a beautifully told real-life story of a man who opens his mind, heart, and see his dreams come true.
Raised in Communist China, a young man's strong and determined spirit make him climb higher and higher in the competitive world of ballet. With his true and remarkable talents, he conquers obstacle after obstacle, while being lucky enough to have some key people's love and support behind him. Still, it's not an easy journey to fame and fortune.
Somehow, his experiences in Houston are presented a little bit too sanitized, as he assimilates rather quickly into a very foreign universe for him. This is after all, Texas, and he briefly mentions to some derogatory comments, which are rather quickly brushed away by his mentor.
There are some gorgeous moments in the film, mostly involving the presentation of his astounding talents, and some emotional, climatic scenes that are bound to leave everyone in the audience misty-eyed. Bruce Beresford is back again in top form and it's very likely he will be mentioned later on in the year's award race for this is a theme he knows very well: Human spirit's indefatigable power. Be warned, this film will move you and probably lead you to believe just that.
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