Archive for the ‘Bruce Beresford’ Category

Communist Ballet to a Texan Welcome

Mao’s Last Dancer

Juxtaposing forces combine in the brilliant ballet film Mao’s Last Dancer directed by Australian Bruce Beresford. Dancing under Communism only to be released into the world of Texan Ballet is Li’s story in Mao’s Last Dancer which triumphs as a superb cinematic ballet.

Bruce Beresford’s film of the autobiographical novel Mao’s Last Dancer by Li Cunxan is infused with a passion for dance and immediately sets up the dichotomy of a boy raised under the rigid government of Mao Zedong’s Communist China in the late 60’s and early 70s and the brash Western commercialism of Texas in 1981 the era that the hit TV series Dallas exemplified, a state built on vast oil wealth.

The Original series about Texan wealth and Eighties Decadence

Li develops into a promising ballet dancer at the Beijing Ballet School and is chosen to represent his country as he goes to America and dance with the Houston Ballet, of which the then First Lady Barbara Bush was a patron.

The opening scene is wonderful as Li arrives at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston and is greeted by the Houston Ballet choreographer Ben Stevenson played with a joie de vive by Bruce Greenwood, reprising a similar role he played as Truman Capote’s lover in Capote. Li is a citizen of communist China and is soon taken shopping at the vast malls in Houston and overwhelmed by the freedom, choice and brashness of the Texan capital, not to mention the bags of outfits from Armani,  Vuitton and Calvin Klein.

Superb Ballet film about a passion that far outweighs the political restraints of the era

**********************************************************************************************************************

Mao’s Last Dancer excels in tracking Li’s development as a Ballet Dancer from being the principal dancer in Carmen to the final breathtaking sequence in Rites of Spring. His political status is soon revoked as he refuses to return to communist China after a sensational incident at the Chinese Consulate in Houston. Li’s opportunity at Houston ballet outweigh his desire to return to China but at the cost of not seeing his family for years.

As the Chinese communist regime softens in relations towards the West in the mid-80’s, the film shows Li returning to his home province in a tearful welcome.

This is a ballet film in all its entirety and despite the international political turmoil involved in Li’s journey to freedom, Mao’s Last Dancer will not disappoint any avid Dance fan especially those who appreciate Ballet. The film is very much Li’s story and does not dwell on the residual flamboyance of any international Ballet company and is not nearly as good as Robert Altman’s film, The Company about the Chicago City Ballet.

Another Altman Masterpiece about Ballet

Watch out for a great cameo by Kyle MacLachlan as Li’s International Immigration Lawyer which only makes the viewer wish that MacLachlan who made such cult hits in the 80’s as Dune and Blue Velvet would frequent the Big Screen more and free himself from the set of Desperate Housewives.

Australian born Beresford, director of Driving Miss Daisy and Crimes of the Heart does a fine job marrying a story about two conflicting society’s brought together by Li’s superb talent as a ballet dancer and his eventual triumph. Mao’s Last Dancer won a host of awards at the Australian Film Institutes 2009 Awards including Best Picture, Costume Design and Director.

Film Directors & Festivals
Reviews and Awards
Review Calender
January 2019
M T W T F S S
« Dec    
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031  
  • Cate Blanchett’s ‘Where’d You Go, Bernadette’ Moved Back to August
    Annapurna Pictures has moved its Richard Linklater literary adaptation “Where’d You Go, Bernadette,” starring Cate Blanchett back five months from March 22 to an Aug. 9 release. A rep for Annapurna explained that August has served well as a launching pad for release of female-skewing films such as “Crazy Rich Asians,” “Florence Foster Jenkins” and […]
    Dave McNary
  • Kumail Nanjiani, Issa Rae to Star in ‘Lovebirds’ Romantic Comedy
    “The Big Sick” star Kumail Nanjiani and “Insecure” star Issa Rae will topline Paramount’s romantic comedy “Lovebirds.” The project will reunite Nanjiani with “The Big Sick” helmer Michael Showalter, who’s on board to direct from a script by Aaron Abrams, Brendan Gall, and Martin Gero. The project goes into production at the end of this […]
    Dave McNary
  • Bishop Briggs, Blackwave Among Winners of Inaugural Music Moves Europe Awards
    Emergent artists from across the EU are in Groningen this week to play showcases for music festival bookers, and several award shows took place Wednesday evening to toast top talent. Accordingly, bands were on hand from all corners of the European Union to collect prizes (and grant money) that will further careers. The Music Moves […]
    Shirley Halperin
  • Mj Rodriguez, Nico Santos to Announce GLAAD Media Award Nominations
    Mj Rodriguez and Nico Santos are set to announce the nominees for the 30th annual GLAAD Media Awards. The “Pose” star and “Crazy Rich Asians” funny man will make the announcement during a live-stream from the AT&T Hello Lounge at the Sundance Film Festival on Friday, Jan. 25. “The images and stories recognized by the […]
    marcmalkin
  • Naomi Watts to Star in Jason Blum-Produced Quibi Series ‘Wolves and Villagers’ (EXCLUSIVE)
    Naomi Watts has been cast in the lead role in the upcoming Quibi series “Wolves and Villagers,” Variety has learned exclusively. The exact plot of the short-form series is being kept under wraps, but Quibi co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg has previously described the show as “Fatal Attraction 2.0.” Jason Blum is executive producing the series, with […]
    Joseph Otterson
  • Article
    Over the past few years, several low-cost carriers have stepped up to offer competition and cheapest prices to customers looking to cut down their monthly bills. Tags: 2gmhass90