Bernard Lorain

Bernard Lorain

Bernard Lorain Quick Links

Film RSS

Balzac And The Little Chinese Seamstress Review


OK
One has to wonder what gave Sijie Dai the impression that his screenplay for Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress -- an adaptation of his own best-selling novel and co-scripted by Nadine Perront -- was structurally sound. About three-quarters of the way into his story, and in one of the more baffling and ineffectual transitions to be found in recent movie memory, Dai jerks his narrative forward by two decades literally in the blink of an eye. The sudden shift only makes Balzac's weaknesses in the character department that much more glaring. As we watch his characters, aged now by makeup, and reminiscing about their teenage years after a long separation, we become aware of how superficial our understanding of them actually is. That awareness robs his flash-forward technique of any poignancy it might otherwise have had and points perhaps to his lack of fluency with the film form.

Set amid lush mountains in an isolated region in China in the early 1970s, Dai gives us a gently paced semi-autobiographical account of two teenage boys, Ma (Ye Liu) and Luo (Kun Chen) who arrive at a Maoist camp for "re-education." Because they are the offspring of the "reactionary" elite -- the very class that Mao sought to purge during his Cultural Revolution -- the boys are prescribed a daily regimen of lugging buckets of shit to fertilize the local rice fields alternated with tedious shifts in a copper mine. Through Dai's eyes, though, what ordinarily might be a rather bleak portrayal of suffering is viewed through rose-tinted lenses. The Communist Committee chief of their village (Shuangbao Wang) is, true to fashion, a by-the-book ideologue. He wants to come off as a hardliner, but he's won over easily enough by Ma's claim that the Mozart lieder he plays on his violin is, in fact, a tribute to Mao. This would be fine if it led to a more complex dynamic between the chief and the boys, but this cheeky repartee goes no further.

Continue reading: Balzac And The Little Chinese Seamstress Review

Bernard Lorain

Bernard Lorain Quick Links

Film RSS
Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

Occupation

Filmmaker


Suggested

New Justice League Trailer Introduces (Most Of) The Characters [Trailer And Pictures]

New Justice League Trailer Introduces (Most Of) The Characters [Trailer And Pictures]

Superman is missing from the 'Justice League' trailer.

Elizabeth Banks Talks About The 'Team' Titles She Grew Up On

Elizabeth Banks Talks About The 'Team' Titles She Grew Up On

The 'Power Rangers' reminded Elizabeth Banks of that 'team' aesthetic.

Charlie Hunnam's Odd On Set Relationship With Robert Pattinson

Charlie Hunnam's Odd On Set Relationship With Robert Pattinson

Charlie Hunnam has described his odd relationship on the set of 'The Lost City Of Z' with Robert Pattinson, who he "didn't say more than 10 words to...

Advertisement
Val Kilmer Goes On Bizarre Twitter Rant Professing Love For Cate Blanchett

Val Kilmer Goes On Bizarre Twitter Rant Professing Love For Cate Blanchett

The two actors worked together on 2003 western 'The Missing'.

Chris Evans Is Open To Doing More Captain America And Avengers Movies

Chris Evans Is Open To Doing More Captain America And Avengers Movies

Captain America actor Chris Evans has hinted he'd be open to returning for more Marvel movies in the future despite his contract coming up.

Michael Fassbender's Been Waiting Since He Was 16 To Work With Brendan Gleeson

Michael Fassbender's Been Waiting Since He Was 16 To Work With Brendan Gleeson

They say you should never meet your heroes, but Michael Fassbender is glad he met Brendan Gleeson.

Robert Knepper Discusses Prison Break Return:

Robert Knepper Discusses Prison Break Return: "Things Are A Bit Deeper Now"

'Prison Break' returns in April for a fifth season, but how will Robert Knepper's character T-Bag fit into the folds of the new episodes?

Advertisement

Bernard Lorain Movies

Balzac And The Little Chinese Seamstress Movie Review

Balzac And The Little Chinese Seamstress Movie Review

One has to wonder what gave Sijie Dai the impression that his screenplay for Balzac...

Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.