Based on an inspiring true story, this emotionally powerful crowd-pleaser emerged as one of the year’s most talked about independent films. It’s the fascinating and epic tale of Li Cunxin, a peasant boy from rural China who beats impossible odds to become a world-renowned ballet dancer. Through breathtaking talent and sheer determination, Li makes his way to the United States, but when he falls in love with an American woman, he must risk everything to remain in the land of the free. Helmed by two-time Oscar® Nominee Bruce Beresford* (Driving Miss Daisy and Tender Mercies), MAO’S LAST DANCER will stir your soul and leave you cheering!
*Directing, Tender Mercies, 1983; Adapted Screenplay, with Jonathan Hardy and David Stevens, Breaker Morant, 1980.
**The Making of Mao's Last Dancer
Cast & Crew
Bruce Beresford's biopic of Li Cunxin, the Chinese ballet dancer who defected while on a student visa in Houston in 1981, is sometimes the movie equivalent of Oscar Meyer cold cuts. But the dancing is pure caviar.
Feel-good movie about a Chinese dancer presses all the right buttons.
Lovely and astounding, Mao's Last Dancer is a modern epic of art and ambition triumphing oppression.
Ballet dancer Chi Cao does a great job of capturing both Li's chops on the stage and his sincerity and culture shock in the face of American opulence.
Hollywood has a long history of turning highbrow art into middlebrow mush, and Mao's Last Dancer is just one more kick dancer in that long line.
Many films have portrayed the rigors of ballet training, but none will make viewers wince quite like Mao's Last Dancer.
The film celebrates artistic freedom without preaching a sermon, and often flies when Mr. Chi is on screen. When he is on stage, spinning and leaping to the strains of magnificent music, the film soars.