Conservatives routinely grumble the film industry loves excoriating the U.S. while giving flawed organizations like the UN a free pass.
And they’re right.
So let’s sound the trumpets over “Mao’s Last Dancer,” the fact-based 2010 drama just released on Blu-ray and DVD. The film, based on the autobiography of Li Cunxin, recalls how he was plucked from a grade school classroom and trained to be the country’s next great ballet dancer. Government propaganda surrounded him and his fellow Chinese citizens, with pictures of Chairman Mao adorning every available space.
Years later, Li visits the U.S. on a cultural exchange program and learns firsthand the anti-U.S. drivel driven into him back home was all a lie.
The film is far from perfect, with unexamined subplots and a tepid romance which bruises the narrative. But the film keenly exposes Chinese propaganda while illustrating the freedoms Americans too often take for granted.
“Dancer” earned $4.8 million in theaters last year, an impressive figure for an indie effort. But the film’s home video debut means more people can savor its pro-American sentiment.