Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Audience Will Love Dancing; but Local Connection Gets Short Shrift

Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Audience Will Love Dancing; but Local Connection Gets Short Shrift

Article excerpt

THE old adage, "truth is stranger than faction", certainly applies to Mao's Last Dancer.

Based on the famous autobiography, this Australian-made film tells of Li Cunxin's tumultuous life, from his childhood in China to his adult life as a world famous ballet star.

At the age of 11, Li is taken from his tiny village (and enormous family) to study ballet in Beijing.

In 1981, his life changes again when, as an adult (played by Chi Cao), he's selected to visit the Houston Ballet as part of a cultural exchange.

Initially stunned by what he sees as "Western decadence", Li soon falls in love with life in America, and starts a relationship with struggling dancer Elizabeth Mackey (Amanda Schull).

But trouble rises when Li decides he wants to stay in the country.

While's Li's tale is a compelling one, it's the film's connection to the beef capital that'll be the biggest drawcard for locals.

Unfortunately, while Li eventually marries Rocky dancer Mary McKendry (Camilla Vergotis), very little of their relationship is seen in this film, with most of the focus going to his ill-fated first marriage to Elizabeth and the international incident that it caused. …

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