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'Mao's Last Dancer' and SYRFILM

When it rains, it pours! The 8th annual Illumination Oppression Human Rights Film Festival kicked off the local fall film fest season in high gear. Their opening night screening - "The Response," a 30-minute dramatization of the military tribunals at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba with a panel discussion - had more than 500 people show up, who filled the main auditorium and two overflow rooms.

This Friday, for one week only at Manlius Art Cinema, Bruce Beresford's "Mao's Last Dancer," based on Chinese dancer Li Cunxin's best-selling autobiography of the same title. In 1982, at the age of 19, Li traveled to the Houston Ballet in Texas and defected to the US. Li's is portrayed by Chi Cao, principal dancer with the Birmingham Royal Ballet and much of the footage was shot in China. See this film quickly, because it's sandwiched in before "Never Let Me Go" hits town. Read my full review of this film and see the trailer, along with other arts coverage from Eagle Newspapers, at cnylink.com - click A&E. I'll also share previews of what's coming to this year's SYRFILM and my hot picks.

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