Li's singular journey takes him from a village in Shandong Province to Madame Mao's Beijing Dance Academy before an opportunity to travel to the West to dance with the Houston Ballet becomes the catalyst for his life-changing decision to defect from China.
Graeme Murphy's choreography and the acting and dance prowess of Chi Cao, a Principal Dancer at the Birmingham Royal Ballet, in the role of the adult Li Cunxin, are quite breathtaking. Joan Chen (The Home Song Stories) is also memorable in a supporting role as Li's mother.
Mao’s Last Dancer screens as part of China Up Close.
"Beresford's grand, lucid and absorbing film tells Lu Cunxin's story with passion and conviction. Essential viewing for ballet fans." - The Australian
Mao’s Last Dancer
21 Feb - 14 Mar
Bruce Beresford's sprawling adaptation of the best-selling 2003 autobiography by Li Cunxin, a former Principal Artist at The Australian Ballet, is vividly brought to the screen, aided by Peter James' exquisite cinematography and scenes shot on location in China.