The Dwarf in China

2014 ,    »  -   19 Comments
Ratings: 9.09/10 from 187 users.

Jeanmarie sits near a flowing river bank and marvels at nature's ability to inspire a feeling of solidarity and balance. This mirrors the same soothing sense of purpose he brings to his work as a globe-trotting children's performer. Documentary The Dwarf in China follows him as he travels to remote regions of the Far East in hopes of creating a bridge between cultures through the practice of mythic storytelling.

Armed with a dwarf costume, a lovingly designed barrel organ, and various waterproof accessories, Jeanmarie journeys from his home in The Netherlands to the southwest town of Kunming, China. There, he joins forces with Frank, a foreign educator who has built a strong rapport with many members of the city's pre-school population. They're anxious to see how the students react to Jeanmarie's fairy tale concerning a dwarf and the hatching of a magical golden egg.

What they find is a city in transformation. The influence of the west is starting to take hold. Modern technologies are creeping in, McDonald's restaurants are being erected in the city's bustling epicenter, and it seems inevitable that the myths and customs of older generations will wither under the strain some day soon. They hope to preserve some of that history by exposing the children to a performance piece that celebrates a mystical connection to nature and other aspects of their cultural heritage.

The filmmakers take us through the painstaking preparations for the performance, which include the creation of a musical instrument programmed specifically to reflect Chinese tradition. We're allowed a peek into the creative process, and recognize Jeanmarie as someone who cares deeply about the integrity of his show, and undergoes tremendous personal sacrifice and financial risk to see it through. We come to understand the region, and the challenges that face the children who attend its overcrowded schools. Finally, we're given a front row seat at the big event as hundreds of eager children absorb every morsel of the show's musical and narrative content.

Joyful and entrancing, The Dwarf in China profiles a truly dedicated artist, and the transformative power of his creations.

Directed by: Ben Arend Reisman

More great documentaries

19 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Bert

    Fantastic documentary! Heartwarming en beautiful storytelling! Really worth watching. (I honestly don't understand the low rating).

  2. Cinzia

    Beautiful documentary!!! To see!

  3. spaanshondje

    This shows how important art is for society . Support your local artist !!!

  4. Steven harding

    What an inspiration they are,very good documentary, didñt get very far with the show in the end,but just to see those children's faces even once,must have been priceless thank you

  5. LeeJai Cook

    3-24-2017. Roaring Springs, Texas USA. Thank you so much for providing these videos. I enjoy watching them very much. And they are educational !
    Many thanks, LeeJai

  6. Andreas Ludwig

    Loved this documentary! What a gem! The main characters are so inspiring and the story is so heartwarming! One of a kind really....Thank you, Andreas.

  7. Teuntje

    Thank you for such a heart and soul touching film !

  8. Marijke Dolman

    Wonderful documentary!!!Interesting to see that spectators around the world react the same to the fairy tale of the golden egg. Heartwarming and inspiring documentary! Thank you so much...

  9. Michele Marie

    A heartfelt, visual and technical delight.
    Art is a universal language. Magic pervades this tale of yearning for connection to all beings.

  10. GunnarInLA

    ...this is a real "documentary"'s a must see...Many supposed documentaries look more like extended news reports – not this one – it's a Wonderful and Real Documentary that you must watch. I gave it 9 stars...I have to save something for the documentary that totally floors me...but this documentary shows you things you'd never see without it...

  11. Truus Uiterwijk Winkel

    What a wonderful story and heartwarming to watch!

  12. Galit

    What an amazing documentaty.
    The rest of the world should see it as well!!!
    To see those children and their faces...
    Good job Ben! You have touched my heart ❤️

  13. Simone

    Enjoyed the film. Great

  14. Paolo

    So touching documentary, a beautiful story ... sincerely recommended

  15. Joyce

    Authentic, inspiring and heartwarming

  16. Thomas

    Very nice doc. The editing makes a loveable narrative. I love how the father son relation eventually is expressed. Very touching. The camerawork as well as the scenic shots are a reason to watch it again. The doc made me look to a part of China I never saw before. It felt if I was there...

  17. Joyce

    Heartwarming, inspiring, authentic..

  18. Astrid

    Beautiful and heartwarming

  19. Marije

    Very nice!

Leave a comment / review: