Category Archives: movies

Movie Review: Mao’s Last Dancer

Hello everyone! I hope everyone had a great summer – in the past month, I wrapped up my Ph.D., finished up my dissertation, gave a rushed exit seminar, and started my 3rd year of med school within the span of a week. I’m getting used to my new life as a (busy) medical student, surrounded by runny-nosed babies and other high strung med students, but of course I’m itching to get back to the theater again whenever I get a chance.

The only time that I’ve had recently was to get myself to a movie theater, which I rarely do. I went with my mother to see Mao’s Last Dancer (which appears to be more limited release than I thought). It’s not groundbreaking cinema, but an arresting tearjerker that was perfect for my mom and I. Kudos for an impressive debut with Birmingham Royal Ballet’s dancer, Chi Cao, in the leading role. For dancers, this movie isn’t as dance-heavy as the star-studded Center Stage, but more of a mix of dance that served the storytelling. For the dancing, I thought their choreographed pieces were a bit stilted. Surely they could have picked a better choreographed Rite of Spring than they did for the movie’s climax? And I sort of hated but loved the ending, which was trite but still, completely satisfying. That also sums up my opinion of the whole movie.

Sex and the City: the Sequel

Sex and the City: the TV series is like watching Martha Graham perform her Lamentation - with a deep grounded internalization of being. Sex and the City: the movie is like watching someone else dance Lamentation, trying hard to look like Martha Graham doing it – an externalization of strife in imitating Graham’s being.

This video isn’t a good example of the externalization of Graham’s original internal emotion (this video is actually quite good), but that is what usually occurs when a standard is set so high and people aim to attain a stereotype of someone else, or in the case of SATC, a stereotype of themselves.

To see an excerpt of Martha Graham herself do it, click here. Click on Jordy’s locker handle, and then to Lamentation, then to Video.

Oh and for Sex and the City, throw in unabashed fashion montages and product placement, a charming smattering of Broadway actors’ cameos (Daphne Rubin Vega, Joanna Gleason, Sara Gettelfinger), a forcefulness in showing you how close the four girls are, and take out witty writing. I came out a little disappointed, but it still had moments of why we all love Sex and the City. I had to get it out of my system, and still glad I saw it as one of the few movies that I see.