Mao’s Last Dancer

If you love Ballet (or men in tights)– and I’m not talking about the sorry excuse for dance seen in a film like Save the Last Dance, but actual true artistry that tests the limits of imaginiation/possiblity and redefines human perfection– then I would recommend taking a look at Mao’s Last Dancer. This film portrays the true story of Li Cunxin and his journey from rural China to the bright lights of ballet stardom with the Houston Ballet in this biographical drama from director Bruce Beresford. Though the script is at times melodramatic and isn’t the most original screenplay I have seen, the dance sequences with Li (Chi Cao) are quite breathtaking and worth the watch (since he was a former ballet dancer with the Birmingham Royal Ballet Company and has training as opposed to so many other films that cast mediocre actors whose awkward convulsive movements magically transform to elongated, refined technical perfection when jumping from a close up to a wide shot from behind). In addition to the rigor and struggle of training as a professional dancer, the film touches on the stringent political/social constructs of China at the time. The film is available on Netflix so you can watch it from the “comfort” of your cheap dorm room beds whilst eating a pint of overpriced Ben and Jerry’s Coffee Health Bar Crunchy ice cream from Bear Market and procrastinating on paper about modernism in Gertrude Stein’s The Good Anna that is due in six hours…or maybe that’s just me. Anyways, check out the trailer and enjoy!

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