MAO’S LAST DANCER (TIFF, Ontario, Canada/Australia/United States 2009)

Ben Meyers’ rating: 4.5|5.0 Stars ìììì

Mao’s Last Dancer—barely broke even in box office—but is a remarkable ‘don’t miss it’ show. It’s based on the book, Mao’s Last Dancer, the true story of Li Cunxin, a Chinese ballet dancer trained in both Chinese and classical Russian Ballet, who China allowed to study under the United States Houston Ballet Company. The film examines Li Cunxin’s rigorous Chinese childhood training program, his success, and the impact study within the United States had on his personal life.

Storyline

Li Cunxin (Chi Cao) is removed from his family and village as a young child for professional dance training with Madam Mao’s Dance Academy in China. His success receives notice from the Houston Ballet Company’s dance instructor, Ben Stevenson (Bruce Greenwood), who invites him to train with the United States team.

Additional Thanks

Thank you to Director Bruce Beresford for directing efforts. Thank you to Executive Producer Troy Lum for making the film possible. Great musical scoring by Christopher Gordon. Good scripting by writer Jan Sardi Additional characters/cast include: Ben Stevenson (Bruce Greenwood), Cynthia Dodds (Penne Hackforth-Jones), Mason (Christopher Kirby), Betty Lou (Suzie Steen), Lori (Madeleine Eastoe), Dilworth (Aden Young), Young Li (Wen Bin Huang), 8-year-old Jing Tring (Shu Guang Liang), and 14-year-old Cunfar (Ye Wang).

Buy a ticket? Yes? No? Maybe?

Yes. This is a terrific film that automatically generates excellent opportunity for family conversation through the wide range of history, politics, culture, and creative dance endeavor. It’s an outstanding choice for the child/adult share film.

Ben Meyers

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