Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress

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Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress ★★ Balzac et la petite tailleuse Chinois; Xiao cai feng 2002

Sijie dreamily adapts his own autobiographical novel depicting life in a remote Chinese mountain village in 1971. City boys Luo (Chen) and Ma (Liu) are sent to be re-educated under Mao's Cultural Revolution. The young men perform manual labor under the watchful eyes of the village chief (Wang) and both become attracted to the nameless young woman (Zhou) of the title, reading to her from a secreted cache of Western books (including Balzac, Flaubert, and Dumas) and teaching her to read and write. There is eventual separation and loss and an abrupt epilogue that shows the men 20 years later wondering whatever happened to the girl they once knew. Mandarin and French with subtitles. 111m/C DVD . CH FR Liu Ye, Hongwei Wang, Ziiou Xun, Chen Kun, Wang Shuangbao, Chung Zhijun; D: Dai Sijie; W: Dai Sijie, Nadine Perront; C: Jean-Marie Dreujou; M: Wang Pujian.