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Genres: Music , Drama , Biography
Actors: Ji Feng Sun , Hui Cong Zhan , Shao Wei Yi , Wan Shi Xu , Neng Neng Zhang , Ye Wang , Shu Guang Liang , Wen Bin Huang , Aden Young , Madeleine Eastoe , Suzie Steen , Christopher Kirby , Penne Hackforth-Jones , Bruce Greenwood , Chi Cao
Director: Bruce Beresford
Country: Australia
Year: 2009
IMDB Rating: 7.2/10 (4298 votes)

A drama based on the autobiography by Li Cunxin. At the age of 11, Li was plucked from a poor Chinese village by Madame Mao’s cultural delegates and taken to Beijing to study ballet. In 1979, during a cultural exchange to Texas, he fell in love with an American woman. Two years later, he managed to defect and went on to perform as a principal dancer for the Houston Ballet and as a principal artist with the Australian Ballet.

Film Review

This is one of the best films about classical ballet I have seen, showing whole dance sequences rather than snippets, and the dancing is beautiful. The hard work and dedication necessary to achieve excellence is clearly shown. It is the story of the rise to fame of Li Cunxin and a sensitive portrayal of the conflicting loyalties to country, family, the art form and the desire for freedom. It is a film to inspire as well as entertain.- Margot, a Heartland Truly Moving Picture Award Jury MemberHeartland Truly Moving Pictures, a non-profit arts organization, was established in 1991 to recognize and honor filmmakers whose work explores the human journey by artistically expressing hope and respect for positive values of life.

It's by no means the perfect film; however, when it works, your heart will soar, and you might start believing in the magic of movies again. It's been a great year for showcasing classical music, framing it with hilarious comedy, such as "Le Concert", and now with the beauty and exuberance of ballet in "Mao's Last Dancer", a beautifully told real-life story of a man who opens his mind, heart, and see his dreams come true.Raised in Communist China, a young man's strong and determined spirit make him climb higher and higher in the competitive world of ballet. With his true and remarkable talents, he conquers obstacle after obstacle, while being lucky enough to have some key people's love and support behind him. Still, it's not an easy journey to fame and fortune.Somehow, his experiences in Houston are presented a little bit too sanitized, as he assimilates rather quickly into a very foreign universe for him. This is after all, Texas, and…

China's cultural revolution had a devastating effect on the way certain works of art were perceived by the people on top. Anything that had to do with the West, was deemed not proper and therefore, not fit for the masses. Ballet, a classical dance expression, became a vehicle for propaganda, as the higher ups wanted the works presented in a revolutionary manner, in tone and content.A young man, Li Cunxin, showed an innate talent for ballet. Coming from a poor family, he had almost no chances to pursue a career as a dancer, let alone to have been singled out to go to America to study for a limited period with the Houston Ballet, under Ben Stevenson's artistic direction, gave him an opportunity, first to study, and then, to shine as a gifted soloist that conquered the hearts of whoever saw him dance.Li Cunxin got caught in between his loyalty to his birth country and what he wanted to accomplish as an artist with a great gift to give the audiences that flocked to watch him per…