First love and growing intellectual awareness memorably intertwine in BALZAC AND THE LITTLE CHINESE SEAMSTRESS, a coming-of-age story set in a remote mountain village during China's Cultural Revolution of the 1970s. Luo (Kun Chen) and Ma (Ye Liu), close friends and sons of well-off parents deemed "enemies of the people," are sent from their urban homes to be reeducated in a small village. Their tough new existence is enlivened only by Ma's virtuoso violin playing and their burgeoning friendship with the beautiful daughter of the local tailor. She is known as the Little Chinese Seamstress (Xun Zhou), and as Luo sets his sight on romance, he declares he doesn't want to know her real name. Luo embarks on a reeducation of the Little Seamstress, vowing to cure her of her provincial ways. Their "school" consists of a stolen suitcase full of banned Western novels, many by French writers, which opens their eyes and hearts to the wonders of the outside world.
Writer/director Dai Sijie's triumph with his work is in showing how the three teenagers create beauty and the beginnings of freedom through music and books, which transform into ideas. The tender beginnings of adulthood, both painful and exhilarating, are quietly observed. Sijie adapted his best-selling book of the same name, which was itself a largely autobiographical account of his own experience with reeducation. BALZAC AND THE LITTLE CHINESE SEAMSTRESS has been translated into 25 languages, but not Chinese. The film, while shot on location in the Sichuan area of China, still has not received permission to be shown in that country.
Zhou Xun - Actor, BALZAC (2005)
Pujian Wang - Composer, BALZAC AND THE LITTLE CHINESE... (2005)
Cong Zhijun - Actor, DEVILS ON THE DOORSTEP (2002)
Chen Kun - Actor, BALZAC (2005)
Dai Sijie - Chinese Director
Zhebin Wang - Executive Producer, BALZAC AND THE LITTLE CHINESE (2005)
Bernard Lorain - Executive Producer, BALZAC AND THE LITTLE CHINESE... (2005)
Wang Shuangbao - Actor, BLIND SHAFT (2004)
Nadine Perront - Screenwriter, BALZAC AND THE LITTLE CHINESE SEAMSTRESS (2005
Liu Ye - Actor
Theatrical Release: JULY 29, 2005 (NY)
"[T]here is very little bitterness in his reconstruction of the Cultural Revolution, but rather a sense of resilience touched with sentimentality, and a suffusing fondness for youth, beauty and literature." - 07/29/2005 New York Times, p.E11
"[A] dreamy memory of hardship -- part familiar Chinese parable, part familiar French romance .The three principals in the film are radiantly beautiful..." - 08/26/2005 Entertainment Weekly, p.43-44