History buffs and dance enthusiasts are going to be happy to know that the critically acclaimed “Mao’s Last Dancer,” based on the autobiographical work of the former ballet dancer Li Cunxin, is finally making its way to America. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the film has been acquired by Samuel Goldwyn Films and will be released August 6 this year.
“Mao’s Last Dancer” follows the life of Li Cunxin, a dancer born in an impoverished village during the midst of the Cultural Revolution. Selected at an early age to join the Beijing Dance Academy, he slowly rises in the ranks and is eventually invited in a rare opportunity to join an American Ballet company as an exchange student. Despite being schooled about the evils of capitalism in advance, he falls in love with the American way of life and begins to question everything China taught him.
“Mao’s Last Dancer” has received numerous awards and was runner up to “Precious” for Audience Award at the Toronto Film Festival last year. While the film seems to over-simplify the differences and clashes in American and Chinese culture and while Chi Cao’s performance as Li Cunxin can be called acceptable at best, “Mao’s Last Dancer” is nevertheless a powerful drama and well worth a watch.