Sunday, September 21, 2008

Dai Sijie

Dai Sijie is a French author and filmmaker of Chinese ancestry.


Dai Sijie was born in China in 1954. Because he came from an educated middle-class family, the Maoist government sent him to a reeducation camp in rural Sichuan from 1971 to 1974, during the Cultural Revolution. After his return, he was able to complete high school and university, where he studied art history. In 1984, he left China for France on a scholarship. 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'' and ''Tang, le onzième''. He also wrote and directed an adaptation of ''Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress'', released in 2002. He lives in Paris and writes in French.

A new novel, Par une nuit où la lune ne s'est pas levée appeared in 2007.


His first book, the semi-autobiographical ''Balzac et la Petite Tailleuse chinoise'' , was made into a movie, in 2005, which he himself adapted and directed. It recounts the story of a pair of friends who become good friends with local seamstress while spending time in a countryside village, where they have been sent for 're-education' during the Cultural Revolution . They steal a suitcase filled with classic Western novels from another man being reeducated, and decide to enrich the seamstress' life by exposing her to great literature. These novels also serve to sustain the two companions during this difficult time. The story principally deals with the cultural universality of great literature and its redeeming power. The novel has been translated into twenty-five languages, although not into Dai's native Chinese, as his work is banned in his country of origin.

His second book, ''Le Complexe de Di'' won the Prix Femina for 2003. It recounts the travels of a Chinese man whose philosophy has been influenced by French psychoanalyst thought. The title is a play on "le complexe d'Oedipe", or "the Oedipus complex". The English translation is titled ''Mr. Muo's Traveling Couch''.


Books by Dai Sijie

* ''Balzac et la Petite Tailleuse chinoise''
* ''Le Complexe de Di''
* ''Par une nuit où la lune ne s'est pas levée'', 2007

Filmography as director

* ''Les filles du botaniste''
* ''''
* ''Tang le onzième''
* ''Le Mangeur de lune''
* ''Chine, ma douleur''

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