Mao's Last Dancer | Indy Week

Mao's Last Dancer

Rated PG 127 min. 2010

Dancer Li Cunxin's award-winning book about his journey from a Houston Ballet exchange student to principal dancer succeeds on screen because of Chi Cao's emotional power as a dancer. The latest by Bruce Beresford (Driving Miss Daisy, Breaker Morant) is based on the autobiography of Chinese dancer Li Cunxin. Beresford knows how to tell a story with his camera, and in a film without stars (Bruce Greenwood and Kyle MacLachlan headline) an extraordinary dancer takes center stage. The acting of Chi, a Birmingham Royal Ballet soloist, may pale next to his dancing, but not inappropriately so for a character whose emotions are guarded due to a lifetime of surveillance. It may hopelessly retro to say it, but this is the kind of film Hollywood regularly used to make: not focus grouped to a niche market, but suitable for children, adults and grandparents; about the joys and sorrows of life and art.

Film Credits

Official Site:

Director: Bruce Beresford

Writer: Jan Sardi and Cunxin Li

Producer: Jane Scott

Cast: Bruce Greenwood, Kyle MacLachlan, Amanda Schull, Joan Chen, Alice Parkinson, Jack Thompson, Aden Young, Christopher Kirby and Chi Cao


Mao's Last Dancer

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