24 January 2008

Dai Sijie, Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress, 2000

A good story set in 1970s China in the grip of Cultural Revolution, when Western books were banned because of their ‘decadence’. Two friends sent into the country for re-education by peasants come across a stash of translated French literature, and this informs their relationship with a young seamstress who becomes enchanted by the words of Balzac. Good fun and spirited, with the kind of slightly cynical tone you would expect the telling of such a tale to have, and the film version which Dai also directed supplies some excellent visual richness. Recommended.  PY

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