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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Mao's Last Dancer

Reviewers call film a "heart-affecting drama"

Mao's Last Dancer's director, Australian Bruce Beresford, is a master craftsman of character-driven dramas, pulling us into close encounters with people struggling for freedom, independence, meaning, love or community. His previous movies include Breaker Morant, Tender Mercies, Driving Miss Daisy and Paradise Road.

Based on a true story, Mao's Last Dancer
Based on a true story, Mao's Last Dancer follows the journey of a poverty-stricken boy from China to stardom as a world-class dancer.
In this heart-affecting drama, Li is raised in rural China and chosen by Communist officials to attend Madame Mao's dance school in Beijing. As a young man he is selected to attend summer school in Houston as part of a cultural exchange program.

The shy young dancer adapts well to his new life and even begins dating a pretty American dancer. But when his time to return to China comes, he faces new obstacles that test his character, patience and resilience.

Chi Cao as Li dazzles us with his dancing prowess (marvel at his leaps) and with his ease in dealing with cultural and political challenges. There is a genuine emotional and spiritual undertow to Mao's Last Dancer that brings to mind the movies Billy Elliott and Slumdog Millionaire. We guarantee that the closing scenes will bring tears to your eyes (Roadshow Films, PG-13 — brief violent image, some sensuality, language, incidental smoking).


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