Movies You Need to Watch: Mao’s Last Dancer

August 4, 2012

in Lifestyle

Earlier this year, we got rid of cable as part of Spring Cleaning Our Lives. Instead we have opted to have Netflix and Hulu.

While these services are great for keeping up with television shows and watching your old favorites, they are not stocked with newer movies. I have started a quest to find the best movies and shows I never would have seen had I not cancelled cable and will share them with you.

Mao's Last Dancer

This movie is drama based on the autobiography by Li Cunxin. At the age of 11, Li was plucked from a poor Chinese village and taken away from his family by Madame Mao's cultural delegates and taken to Beijing to study ballet. China has long had their methods for finding and training athletes questioned as being harsh and inhumane. This movie gives you a glimpse into how students are chosen and trained for the arts in communist China under Chairman Mao. It isn't pretty.

However, Li finds that strength and passion of the human spirit that is always inspirational.

In 1979, Li makes a three month visit to Houston as part of a cultural exchange program. It is interesting and a bit sad to watch a young man who has been raised and taught nothing but communist principles his entire life try to understand America. 

While in Houston, he falls in love with an American woman played by Amanda Schull, who you may recognize as Jodi from Center Stage. When it is time for Li to return to China, he doesn't want to go. When he visits the Chinese Consulate to request an extension, he is denied and taken captive.

I won't reveal the entire story. What I will say is that if you like inspirational movies, movies about dancing, romance, drama, or triumphs of the human spirit, this is one movie you don't want to miss.

 

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