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Raymond Zhou: Montreal Journal, August 28, 2013

Updated: 2013-08-29 13:48
By Raymond Zhou ( chinadaily.com.cn)

Raymond Zhou: Montreal Journal, August 28, 2013

A poster of "Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress" written and directed by Dai Sijie.

"This is a romantic story and it is about books. So, I wanted actors to be good-looking, not people on the street. This movie would not work with realism," Dai explained. Some of the story elements were from his own life. A friend of his dated a local girl while they were both "sent-down youths" in rural Sichuan. "The girl in real life was a farmer and had got some basic education. She eventually left for the city."

When I asked Dai about the possible homosexual sentiments between Chen Kun's and Liu Ye's characters, he said it was not intentional. He was shocked when he first heard it from a college student in America who read the novel. "That young man told me it was the most beautiful gay story he had seen and I told him there was nothing between them but friendship."

Now that he had had more time to think about the issue, he believed there are many people of the same sex in their early youth whose friendship is so intense it borders on romantic love, yet there is no sexual intimacy involved. Dai denies he designed this kind of relationship to pander to the Western taste, but he admits that, having stayed in France for so long and having immersed himself in French literature, he intuitively understands what they like on the page or on the screen. "It's not a bad thing," he adds. "I always thought this kind of cross-cultural skill would come in handy for China when it needs better communication with the Western world."


Raymond Zhou: Montreal Journal, August 27

Raymond Zhou: Montreal Journal, August 26

Raymond Zhou: Montreal Journal, August 25

Raymond Zhou: Montreal Journal, August 24

Raymond Zhou: Montreal Journal, August 23

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