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Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamtress (小裁缝)

七月 11, 2010

This movie was an accidental finding of mine. Sometimes, this element of surprise leaves the most satisfying feeling.

The director of this film is Dai Sijie (戴思杰), a French Chinese author and filmmaker. His first book was this semi-autobiographical Balzac et la Petite Tailleuse chinoise (Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress) (2000). Two years later, he made it into a movie that received Golden Globe Nominee for Best Foreign Language Film.

This is such a light and simple movie without overpowering imagery and sound tracks, without bold uses of  colors and experimental filming techniques. However, it’s simplicity and candidness was able to speak the loudest. Everything seemed so real, and I believed everything that happened in the film. At the same time, the film hit several important events and issues, and delivered very strong messages. The story is staged in the Cultural Revolution. The main characters were two teenage boys (my parents’ generation) who were sent to the country side to be re-educated. They both fell in love with this little seamstress, and try to educate her by reading her the forbidden Western book by Balzac. Not to spoil it, you will have to find out what happened when you see the movie. Sometimes, a book can change a person’s life.

The strong messages of this film were very convincing and were delivered seamlessly. The tunes of the Chinese Erhu (sometimes called Chinese violin) and Western violin are contrasting but harmonic. The villagers’ obsession to Mao and Communism lived in the same space with the strong curiosity and love of  the Western literature and culture. Then there were romance, rebellion, laughs and tears.

Highly recommended! Let it speak to you too.

One Comment leave one →
  1. 七月 15, 2010 8:20 下午



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