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Mao's Last Dancer (2009)

Chi Cao , Bruce Greenwood , Bruce Beresford  |  PG |  DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (184 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Chi Cao, Bruce Greenwood
  • Directors: Bruce Beresford
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: July 26, 2011
  • Run Time: 117 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (184 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004WJT5G0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,637 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Based on an inspiring true story, this emotionally powerful crowd-pleaser emerged as one of the year's most talked about independent films. It's the fascinating and epic tale of Li Cunxin, a peasant boy from rural China who beats impossible odds to become a world-renowned ballet dancer. Through breathtaking talent and sheer determination, Li makes his way to the United States, but when he falls in love with an American woman, he must risk everything to remain in the land of the free. Helmed by two-time Oscarr Nominee Bruce Beresford (Driving Miss Daisy and Tender Mercies), Mao's Last Dancer will stir your soul and leave you cheering.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
61 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars By Turns...Suspenseful! Harrowing! Beautiful! March 25, 2011
By Mantis
Format:DVD
This review is for in theaters version only, not the DVD.

This inspiring film is based on the autobiography of Li Cunxin, principal ballet dancer who defected to the United States in 1981. It includes the suspenseful account of a 21-hour international incident when Li was held hostage in Houston's Chinese consulate.

The film begins with his childhood in Maoist China. The first portion of the movie was actually filmed there. Li was taken from his family to train at the Beijing Dance Academy while he was still a young child. After harsh, rigorous training, he was chosen for a dance scholarship with the Houston Ballet Company in a cultural exchange program.

There are comical moments as Li adjusts to the soaring skyline of Houston's modern buildings, ATM's that dole out cash, and misconceptions about english words. Actor, Bruce Greenwood, does a great job portraying the artistic director of the Houston Ballet, Ben Stevenson, who takes the young dancer under his wing and helps him adjust to his new life in the United States.

The casting for this film is miraculous! Chi Cao plays the extraordinarily talented Li. Wowee! This is a film where the camera man does not have to fake the quality of the dancing. The performers are exceptional! The Australian Ballet's prima ballerina, Madeleine Eastoe, plays Li's dance partner. This beautiful film is a Must See for dance fans. Lavish scenery and costumes were provided courtesy of the Australian Ballet. There are scenes from the Rite of Spring, Swan Lake, the Don Quixote pas de deux, and a political ballet from the Maoist era, "The Red Detachment of Women". The viewer sees long choreographed sequences instead of chopped up bits and pieces. The carefully chosen dance scenes help mirror the sentiments of the ongoing storyline.

Excellent acting from many cast members, superb directing...an excellent film.
Some of the scenes have spoken dialogue in Chinese with English subtitles.
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37 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Breaking Political Barriers for Art May 7, 2011
Format:DVD
MAO'S LAST DANCER is a gem of a film that proves that true stories of the travails of artists who must have freedom to express make excellent stories. And in this case the story is true. Adapted from the autobiography by the same name by Li Cunxin and adapted for the screen by Jan Sardi and directed by Bruce Beresford (Driving Miss Daisy, Bride of the Wind, Breaker Morant, Double Jeopardy, etc), this story gradually unfolds in both China and America and is in both Chinese and English.

In the author's own words, 'In a small, desperately poor village in northeast China, a peasant boy sits at his rickety old school desk, interested more in the birds outside than in Chairman Mao's Red Book and the grand words it contains. But that day, some strangers come to his school - Madame Mao's cultural delegates. They are looking for young peasants to mold into faithful guards of Chairman Mao's great vision for China." "The boy watches as one of his classmates is chosen and led away. His teacher hesitates. Will she or won't she? She very nearly doesn't. But at the last moment, she taps the official on the shoulder and points to the small boy. "What about that one?" she says." This is the true story of how that one moment in time, by the thinnest thread of chance, changed the course of a small boy's life in ways beyond description. One day he would dance with some of the greatest ballet companies of the world. One day he would be a friend to a president and first lady, movie stars, and some of the most influential people in America. One day he would himself become a star: Mao's last dancer and the darling of the West.'

The film opens when Li Cunxin (Chi Cao, who joined Birmingham Royal Ballet in 1995 and was promoted to Principal in 2002.
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51 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ballet magic January 7, 2011
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Mao's Last Dancer (2009) [ NON-USA FORMAT, PAL, Reg.4 Import - Australia ] This is a wonderful movie for anyone who loves ballet and a good story. Li Cunxin, a Chinese dancer, defected to the USA when he was a young dancer. This is a story of heartbreak, amazing tenacity and the eventual success of this very brave man. I have been fortunate to meet him and he is truly inspirational. It's a great feel-good film that you can watch many times without tiring, plus the dancing is sublime.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars By Turns...Suspenseful! Harrowing! Beautiful! August 29, 2010
By Mantis
This review is for in theaters version only, not the DVD.

This inspiring film is based on the autobiography of Li Cunxin, principal ballet dancer who defected to the United States in 1981. It includes the suspenseful account of a 21-hour international incident when Li was held hostage in Houston's Chinese consulate.

The film begins with his childhood in Maoist China. The first portion of the movie was actually filmed there. Li was taken from his family to train at the Beijing Dance Academy while he was still a young child. After harsh, rigorous training, he was chosen for a dance scholarship with the Houston Ballet Company in a cultural exchange program.

There are comical moments as Li adjusts to the soaring skyline of Houston's modern buildings, ATM's that dole out cash, and misconceptions about english words. Actor, Bruce Greenwood, does a great job portraying the artistic director of the Houston Ballet, Ben Stevenson, who takes the young dancer under his wing and helps him adjust to his new life in the United States.

The casting for this film is miraculous! Chi Cao plays the extraordinarily talented Li. Wowee! This is a film where the camera man does not have to fake the quality of the dancing. The performers are exceptional! The Australian Ballet's prima ballerina, Madeleine Eastoe, plays Li's dance partner. This beautiful film is a Must See for dance fans. Lavish scenery and costumes were provided courtesy of the Australian Ballet. There are scenes from the Rite of Spring, Swan Lake, the Don Quixote pas de deux, and a political ballet from the Maoist era, "The Red Detachment of Women". The viewer sees long choreographed sequences instead of chopped up bits and pieces.
Read more ›
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