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March 22, 2010 | by  | in Film | [ssba]

Mao’s Last Dancer


This movie was a gem. When I saw the trailer for it I wasn’t too fussed; just another movie, really, the main guy’s accent would get on my nerves after a while. Funnily it didn’t. Of course there were those moments when you realised that Chi Cao probably had an American accent and was pretending to have a Chinese accent… but nevertheless. Mao’s Last Dancer follows the true tale of Li Cunxin’s life, in which he was taken from his parents at age 11 by Communist China, trained in ballet and shipped to the USA to perform on behalf of the country. It is a truly unique story as it tells of the vigorous Communist regime and how hard it worked to maintain a strong face of China.

Li’s story in many ways shows the triumph of the US government and freedom over the Communist China’s way of life, with subtle hints in the movie. For example, when Li first moves to the USA he is taken aback by the way a fellow man in a bar talks about Bush so freely, and is upset someone will hear him. Li’s move from China is a positive one, as he sees the way of life he could have rather than the one he would have had, stuck in the poor village with his parents and six brothers. His move to the USA was very important for him; he would have been stuck in that village forever. So quit your whining, Li.

The film was nominated for best costume design and I’m sure everyone would agree. It’s hard not to without those tights and the like. The dancing was also to be applauded; whoever has leg muscles like that deserves a medal… One of the most inspiring aspects of the film was the support Li was receiving in the USA, especially during the end of his stay in the country, with the help of his dance instructor Ben Stevenson and his lawyer Charles Foster.

As for a negative, I couldn’t really find anything too bad about it. I wasn’t checking the time all the way through it wondering whether it would end. And that means something.

Mao’s Last Dancer

Director: Bruce Beresford
Based on the memoir by Li Cunxin
Cast: Chi Cao, Bruce Greenwood and Kyle MacLachlan


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