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Boy from Chinese peasant family gets plucked from obscurity and is sent skyrocketing onto ballet stages. Boy travels to America, achieves stardom and falls in love, but is facing a forced return to his homeland. Boy faces dilemma – will he ever see his family again?

That essentially wraps up Mao’s Last Dancer, which is based on the true story of Chinese ballet dancer Li Cunxin (played by Chi Cao).

By Stephanie Lyall on October 2, 2009

It seems to be that stories of war, whether they are films, history books or otherwise, focus on one of two perspectives: the Anglo-American, or the German. It’s either English speaking diggers and GIs, or it’s blonde-haired, blue-eyed Nazi’s sauntering around and Heil-ing Hitler. It’s not often that Russian participation is considered, nor is the impact that World War II may still be having on the current generation of young Russians.

By Stephanie Lyall on September 28, 2009

The disclaimer at the beginning says it all, “You should know up front, this is not a love story.”

And essentially, it is not. How can it be, when one of the parties does not even believe in the concept of love?

By Stephanie Lyall on September 22, 2009

Coco Avant Chanel has all of the elements to be a potentially brilliant film. French? Check. Period drama? Check. Fabulous frocks and Audrey Tautou in the lead role? Check and check. But at first glance something seems to be lacking in this biopic about the revered French fashion designer Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel.

By Stephanie Lyall on June 4, 2009

“I used to have a beautiful wife and all my own teeth. Life changes… and not always for the better,” or so says retired magician Clarence (Michael Caine) in Is Anybody There? It’s a wise statement and a valuable thought to take on board – and it isn’t the first, or last, poignant moment of the movie.

By Stephanie Lyall on May 27, 2009

Kidman and Luhrmann. Tautou and Jeunet.

Sometimes the combination of an actress and a director works magically across a number of films, but now these pairs have another thing in common – they have all played a part in the creation of extravagant Chanel No. 5 advertisements.

The latest Chanel advertisement, directed by Jean Pierre Jeunet, features Audrey Tautou in a fateful love story on board the Orient Express between Paris and Istanbul.

It is the third time the two have worked together, after Amelie and A Very Long Engagement. For Jeunet, Tautou was an obvious choice.

By Stephanie Lyall on May 23, 2009

What can I say? I’m a sucker for period drama, especially if it involves Colin Firth, stunning dresses and a grand English mansion. No, really – what could be better than a decadent manor house, gorgeous 20’s fashion and a brooding Colin Firth to top it all off?

By Stephanie Lyall on March 31, 2009

Scandinavian films aren’t exactly known to portray the world from a joyful, lighthearted perspective. Maybe it’s something to do with the short and grey winter days, or the hardworking social welfare systems that end up keeping everybody sort of ‘same-same’. Denmark and Sweden usually rank highly in lists of suicide rates, Finland hosted it’s latest in a spate of school shootings a few months ago and semi-Scandi Iceland is in economic turmoil.

By Stephanie Lyall on March 5, 2009
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