Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Little Chinese Seamstress - Xiao cai feng (2002)

Xiao cai feng  - an elegy on youth and memory

A faithful rendering of drector Sijie Dai's own novel. Casting is uncanny and cinematography breathtaking. The theme is deeply mature and a bitter-sweet recollection of youth and innocence in a remote rural village in China, during the Red Guard terror when the children of "bourgeois revisionists" are sent to the country-side for "re-education" through manual labor.

But politics is in the background, and the story focuses on the friendship between two teenage boys and their love for the daughter of the village tailor, and the power of story-telling in shaping aspirations and mutual understanding. Even minor characters are profoundly developed and a gentle humor pervades the screen.

The tacked-on ending not in the book mars an otherwise perfect reflection on the novel's story and the principal players.