I’m a serious sucker for a movie based on a true story. I think it makes any film that much better, knowing that this actually happened and is not the result of some screenwriter’s creative machinations.
This holds true for Mao’s Last Dancer, the latest film from Samuel Goldwyn Films, out this Friday. Based on the best-selling autobiograpy of the same name, the film tells the story of Chinese ballet dancer Li Cunxin, plucked from his village and family in the ’70s to train at the prestigious Beijing Arts Academy.
Despite initial hardships (the scenes of the training the boys endure are pretty jaw-dropping), Li eventually excels at ballet and is given the opportunity to travel to America as an exchange student. Li eventually becomes an international ballet star, but not before almost losing his love, his family and even his country in an international scandal. With China now the second largest economy in the world and yet still reluctant to fully open its channels of communication with the world, it’s an eye-opening look into 1970s communist China.
The film doesn’t skimp on heavy hitters either. Academy Award® nominees, director Bruce Beresford (Tender Mercies, Driving Miss Daisy), producer Jane Scott (Shine) and screenwriter Jan Sardi (The Notebook, Shine), are behind the project, as well as actors Bruce Greenwood, Kyle MacLachlan, Joan Chen and Amanda Schull. Chi Cao, a gifted dancer and principal at the Birmingham Royal Ballet, carries the film as Li. (The dance scenes alone make the film.)
The film’s already garnered a host of awards, from the Toronto International Film Festival (Audience Award Runner Up) to the São Paulo International Film Festival (Audience Award Winner) to the Seattle International Film Festival (Best Film Golden Space Needle Runner Up).
Check out the trailer here:
Wanna see more? We have exclusive clips from the film for you to check out.
“Li is Chosen”