Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress

Directed by Dai Sijie

Adapted by the writer-director from his eponymous, autobiographical best-selling novel, BALZAC is both a story of two young men sent for re-education during the Cultural Revolution and a paean to the liberating power of the arts. 17-year-old Ma and Luo are sent to a remote mountain village where harsh physical work and proximity to the proletariat will cure them of an intellectual heritage. Their skill as storytellers is revealed when they are chosen to re-tell films to the rapt villagers and develops when the boys steal a stash of forbidden French novels and thrill their listeners with revolutionary-embellished tales of the Count of Monte Cristo. Especially effected is ‘the little seamstress’ with whom Luo has fallen in love. Stunning settings are augmented by ‘Scope cinematography and an expressive score that mixes Mozart with Mao revolutionary tunes.

111 minutes

Country of origin:
China and France

Year of production: