Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress (2005)
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as Little Chinese Seams...
as Village Head
as Old Tailor
as Old Tailor
as Four Eyes
as Four Eyes
as Four Eyes' mother
as commune head
as village chief's pret...
as airport saleswoman
as Madame Luo
as voice of journalist
as Four Eyes' Mother
as village chief's wife
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Critic Reviews for Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress
The ethereal private moments and inspired passages are beautifully shot by Jean-Marie Dreujou, but Dai never quite organizes the material dramatically, and the tone is too often jagged and disruptive.
The film is episodic, and most of the scenes are evocative and charming.
A nifty little film about the powers of culture and the humanities.
The movie may lose some of its bite when translated from page to screen, but it still delivers a valid message. When one of the boys starts reading good literature, life takes on new meaning.
Audience Reviews for Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress
Set in 1971 communist China is the tale of two young men sent to live in the mountains to be "re-educated" as peasants in the Chairman Mao method. One is the son of a dentist, the other is a violinist, and both are considered "reactionists" because of their apparent intellectualism. The mountain villagers are painted as savages, with no knowledge of technology or high art (they think the violin is some sort of toy which they pass around and bang on like chimps) and a serious distrust of anything foreign. The two young men are quickly forced into menial labor, hauling buckets of human waste to be used as fertilizer and hauling rocks out of the tiny mine shaft. One day, the community tailor comes to the village, along with his teenage granddaughter, and both boys quickly fall in love with her. She's not like the other peasants, she has a curious mind that doesn't necessarily fall in line with Mao's ideals. She steals the boys' alarm clock and takes it apart to see how the animal on the face worked. She builds models of the airplanes she sees fly overhead. The boys decide to teach her to read, and they find a stash of banned books one of the other re-trainees has smuggled into the village. "Xiao Cai Feng" is fairly subtle in it's demonstration of the evils of ignorance in a totalitarian society, unfortunately the same subtlety isn't applied to the love triangle element of the story. However, it is a beautiful and compelling (well, most of the time it's compelling) movie nonetheless.
As per usual in these types of films, it's beautiful but stunningly boring. But then again, so was the book.
I had read the book (on which this film is based) a few years back and thought it should be made into a movie. Well, it actually had been made into a f ilm. Now that I've finally seen it, it goes to show how powerful this story is. Set during the communist re-education period of China's histroy, the uplifting, emotional power of forbidden music, forbidden books and forbidden love are timeless and are so poetic in this adaptation. It proves that artistic and creative thinking cannot be supressed and are the great and noble characteristics that make up the human spirit. It also helps that the author of the book (largely autobiographical) is also the film's director. NOTE: Chinese, with English subtitles.
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