The Little Chinese Seamstress

2002, Drama/Romance, 1h 51m

62 Reviews 2,500+ Ratings

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critics consensus

This delicately told fable about the power of literature is a lyrical delight. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

In the early 1970s, teenage friends Ma Jianling (Ye Liu) and Luo Min (Chen Kun) are forced to move to a remote mountain village for re-education during China's Cultural Revolution. Luo falls in love with a beautiful girl known as the Little Seamstress (Zhou Xun), who thirsts for the Western music and literature that the village chief (Chen Tianlu) considers insufficiently Maoist. The friends read to her from a cache of suppressed European literature that opens her mind to new possibilities.

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Critic Reviews for The Little Chinese Seamstress

Audience Reviews for The Little Chinese Seamstress

  • Feb 27, 2009
    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.
    Devon B Super Reviewer
  • Feb 18, 2009
    A coming-of-age story with breathtaking footage of a remote mountain village in China. It takes place during the Cultural Revolution and is about two friends who both fall in love with the same young beauty. The tale is gripping. It will make you laugh and also empathize with the character's pain.
    Dannielle A Super Reviewer
  • Feb 09, 2009
    As per usual in these types of films, it's beautiful but stunningly boring. But then again, so was the book.
    Jennifer X Super Reviewer
  • Jan 09, 2009
    I was wooed by the call of the wild,oh the poetic motion and oh the indiscreet nature of the protagonists.Mesmerizing to the end of social inflation,the political scenery is a stereotypical background,erotica and affliction in the countryside is what makes this film move around.Such brilliance near the mountains.
    Dimitris S Super Reviewer

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