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Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress

Balzac et la petite tailleuse chinoise



Based on the International best-seller "Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress"

Directed by

Dai Sijie


Chen Kun
Liu Ye
Zhou Xun


Production Internationale Le film

2001 / Original language: Chinese / Color / 2.35 / Dolby SRD

Two teenage best friends, Luo and Dai, are sent to a far-flung outpost of Maoist re-education. Sons of “reactionary intellectuals”, the boys keep their spirits up after arduous work in the fields and coal mines by playing Dai’s violin- which they save from destruction by re-inventing Mozart lieder as songs of the Chinese revolution.
They also tell clever and amazing stories and the chief of the village sends them to a larger town to watch revolution-touting melodramatic movies, come back and tell the stories to the culture-starved locals.
During one of these trips, the two see and fall in love with the local beauty, the daughter of the most renowned tailor in the region.
They also meet another “enemy of the people”, Four-Eyes, who has a secret stash of subversive books - Flaubert, Tolstoy, Hugo, and the most compelling to them, Balzac.
The two pursue their courtship of the Little Seamstress, entrancing her with classics of European literature-peppered with praise for Mao.
She becomes infatuated with Balzac and with Luo, mostly because of Balzac’s evocations of feminine emotion. She begins to evolve emotionally and intellectually.
Thirsting for new experiences she ultimately finds the courage to leave her village for wider horizons.


Cannes Film Festival (2002)
Un Certain Regard

All films in official selection in Cannes

San Sebastian Film Festival (2002)

Edinbugh Film Festival (2002)

Montreal Film Festival 2002

Golden Globe 2003
Nomination for Best Foreign Language Film


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