Liu Ye, Zhou Xun, and Chen Kun in “Balzac & the Little Chinese Seamstress" at the Figge Art Museum -- November 2.

Thursday, November 2, 6:30 p.m.

Figge Art Museum, 225 West Second Street, Davenport IA

Lauded by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution as a "tribute to the transforming power of books" and by The Oregonian for its "memorable set pieces [that] illuminate the world around this subdued romantic triangle," Dai Sijie's 2002 Franco-Chinese film Balzac & the Little Chinese Seamstress will enjoy a November 2 screening at Davenport's Figge Art Museum, the romantic drama an awards nominee with the Golden Globes, the National Board of Review, and the Cannes Film Festival.

Based on Dai's 2000 semi-autobiographical novel of the same title, Balzac & the Little Chinese Seamstress revolves around two young Chinese boys from a bourgeois background who were sent to a remote village in Sichuan province for three years of re-education during the Cultural Revolution. They both fell in love with a beautiful local girl, the granddaughter of an old tailor known to everyone as the Little Seamstress. During those years of intellectual oppression, the three found solace and liberation in a collection of banned translated novels by Western authors, among whom their favorite was Balzac. Starring Zhou Xun, Chen Kun, and Liu Ye, the film explores themes of youth, love, and freedom during dark times in China, and among its many laurels were nominations for Un Certain Regard at the Cannes Film Festival, Best Foreign-Language Film from the Golden Globes, and Best Asian Film from the Hong Kong Film Awards.

Born in Putian, Fujian, in 1954, writer/director Dai Sijie grew up extensively reading and thinking, so much so that the Maoist government sent him to a re-education camp in rural Sichuan from 1971 to 1974 during the Cultural Revolution. Much of this experience was the source of his first book, Balzac et la petite tailleuse chinoise. After his return, he completed his professional certificate as a teacher, and in 1984, Dai left China for France on a scholarship to study at the Institut des hautes études cinématographiques. There, he acquired a passion for movies and became a director. Before turning to writing, he made three critically acclaimed feature-length films: China, My Sorrow, Le mangeur de lune (Moon Eater) and Tang, le onzième (The Eleventh Child). In addition to writing and directing Balzac & the Little Chinese Seamstress, Dai's second book Le Complexe de Di (The Di Complex) won the Prix Femina for 2003, and the artist currently lives in Paris and writes in French.

Balzac & the Little Chinese Seamstress will be presented in the John Deere Auditorium on November 2, admission to the 6:30 p.m. screening is free, and attendees are invited to socialize and discuss the film afterward with a complimentary glass of wine. For more information, call (563)32607804 and visit

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