Discuss the portrayal of the little seamstress in the film and the techniques used in the portrayal. – Jek Leung
The film “Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress” is set in 1971 in China during the Cultural Revolution, a time where women were given equal rights to men, but in reality were not equal. Dai Sijie uses the portrayal of the little seamstress to highlight this. Throughout the film ‘Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress’ Dai Sijie uses a variety of changes in camera angles to highlight the strong theme of transformation in the little seamstress, from an uneducated woman. The film portrays the little seamstress as a symbol of women as a whole and illustrates the huge impact literature has had on her life. Furthermore, there are close up angles of the characters to illustrate the intense passion, both romantically and intellectually between the seamstress with Ma and Luo.
Firstly, Dai Sijie portrays the little seamstress as an uneducated woman, who could be mistaken for a weak country girl and is transformed during the duration of the film. This is evidenced by the fact that after her abortion the seamstress says “I feel like somebody else”. This highlights how the little seamstress is a symbol of the gradual transformation of herself through learning about western literature. Furthermore, the fact that the little seamstress has no name and is merely called “The Little seamstress” throughout the film highlights how the director Dai Sijie does not want the viewers to focus on the character specifically, but rather to see her as a symbol of women as a whole during the Cultural Revolution.
Another different perspective that the little seamstress is portrayed is as a granddaughter to the old tailor. The director, Dai Sijie uses various cinematographic techniques, for instance a close up camera angle where we see the seamstress from the eyes of the grandfather behind the keyhole. In this particular scene the little seamstress is demonstrating how a bra works to her friends. It is evident that Sijie uses the close up camera angle focused on only the seamstress from behind the keyhole to highlight the...