Hongwei Wang

Hongwei Wang

Hongwei Wang 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

Hongwei Wang

Hongwei Wang Quick Links

Film RSS
Advertisement

Suggested

The Lumineers - Walls Audio

The Lumineers - Walls Audio

The Lumineers honour their friend and hero Tom Petty with a sensational cover of his 1996 song 'Walls' from the 'She's the One' soundtrack.

Olly Murs - Moves ft. Snoop Dogg Video

Olly Murs - Moves ft. Snoop Dogg Video

Watch Olly Murs get his nerd on as he blags his way into an exclusive Snoop Dogg party (where Rowan Atkinson is the bartender) in the video for their...

Mid-Week Playlist: 15 Happy Tunes To Get You Through Work

Mid-Week Playlist: 15 Happy Tunes To Get You Through Work

From 'Happy' to 'Banana Pancakes', these are soaked in positivity.

Mariah Carey - With You Video

Mariah Carey - With You Video

Mariah Carey is the picture of glamour in the black and white video for her brand new single 'With You'. It's the lead single from her forthcoming...

Advertisement
Eminem - Venom Video

Eminem - Venom Video

Eminem draws attention to the negative response his 2017 album 'Revival' received in the video for his latest song 'Venom'; a song recorded for the...

Anna Calvi - All Saints Church, Hove 5.10.2018 Live Review

Anna Calvi - All Saints Church, Hove 5.10.2018 Live Review

With the recent release of her third, very well received album 'Hunter' just behind her, Anna had plenty of relatively new songs to showcase.

Billie Eilish - When The Party's Over Audio

Billie Eilish - When The Party's Over Audio

Up and coming LA singer-songwriter Billie Eilish has unveiled her fourth single of the year, 'When the Party's Over'.

John Grant - Love Is Magic Album Review

John Grant - Love Is Magic Album Review

The quality of the back-catalogue of the once-upon-a-time Czar, John Grant, is building to be the one of the most impressive set of albums released...

Advertisement

Hongwei Wang 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.