Reconciliation themes in movies almost always leave me in tears. Last night I watched Mao’s Last Dancer, part of the Seattle International Film Festival line-up. It was the first time the festival used an Everett venue, meeting at the Everett Performing Arts Center, in a city blossoming with the arts. Mao’s Last Dancer was directed by Bruce Beresford, the director of Driving Miss Daisy. He was actually present for the showing and answered questions afterward, which was wonderful.
The film is based on the autobiography of a boy who was born in rural China, separated from his family at a young age, and who became one of the great ballet talents of our age. Growing up apart from his family, dealing with the culture clash of American life, and defecting to the West were compelling themes of struggle and survival. But the deeper themes for me were his reunion with parents after decades; the dance in the village square for his first teacher, who had been taken away; and finding identity as a person with many national loyalties.
I am currently reading Who Gets to Narrate the World, written by Robert Webber. Webber asserts that we are losing the Christian story in the ways we think about who we are, what gives life meaning, and what is our destiny. Watching Mao’s Last Dancer, I am convinced we need to watch, tell, and live stories of reconciliation within God’s big story in order to make visible the glory of the gospel that brings tears for the right reasons. What themes touch you deeply in movies?