Framing Mao's Last dancer as a musical biopic

Penny Spirou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper frames Mao's Last Dancer as a musical biopic (biographical film), conforming to the narrative structures of the musical genre film. Mao's Last Dancer is one of the few Australian films considered to be a musical biopic (the others include Shine, Doing Time for Patsy Cline and The Sapphires), however the film is not set in nor refers to Australia. Instead, the film follows the life of ballet dancer, Li Cunxin, and his transition from communist China to the USA. As demonstrated in this paper, the soundtrack of Mao's Last Dancer reflects the geographical movement of the protagonist as well as Cunxin's emotional journey.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-69
Number of pages14
JournalStudies in Australasian Cinema
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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