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HOT: Mao’s Last Dancer

I have no idea why Mao’s Last Dancer has only received middle-of-the-road reviews. I was on the brink of tears for most of the film, cialis until the end when the dam burst into an ugly-screwed-up-face fit of uncontrolled bawling. RM admitted even he was getting teary. So, ambulance five stars for emotional effect.

The rich, vialis 40mg lush film brings to the screen the rags-to-riches autobiography of Chinese ballet dancer Li Cunxin (who now lives in Melbourne). It switches back and forth in time and location, between his childhood poverty in Shandong Province, his rigorous training at the Beijing Academy of Arts and his first steps onto Western soil and exposure to American ways as a guest student of the Houston Ballet. Basically, the premise of the film is a classic adventure story. It’s about the journey of a person who starts off in one place, emotionally and physically, and ends up somewhere else. It’s a story of great contrast, between poverty and wealth, East and West, discipline and adulation.

There are various storylines about his initial awkwardness towards Western culture, his love affair with an American ballerina and his decision to defect to the US despite possible repercussions for his family. Within those storylines director Bruce Beresford has weaved dance excerpts choreographed by Graeme Murphy. I loved the dancing. The dances emphasised and expressed the emotions of the protagonists at a particular point in time and the excerpts never felt like a contrived intermission in the story. It was more like a shorthand way to telling the story, especially as the scenes always showed the reactions of the audience. The only thing I didn’t like were the slow-mo effects, as that did feel like an obvious device to heighten emotional effect.

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