The Dwarf in China

2014, Society  -   26 Comments
Ratings: 9.01/10 from 308 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

26 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Bert

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

  2. Cinzia
  3. Cinzia

    Beautiful documentary!!! To see!

  4. spaanshondje
  5. spaanshondje

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

  6. Steven harding
  7. 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

  8. LeeJai Cook
  9. 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

  10. Andreas Ludwig
  11. 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.

  12. Teuntje
  13. Teuntje

    Thank you for such a heart and soul touching film !

  14. Marijke Dolman
  15. 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...

  16. Michele Marie
  17. Michele Marie

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

  18. GunnarInLA
  19. 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...

  20. Truus Uiterwijk Winkel
  21. Truus Uiterwijk Winkel

    What a wonderful story and heartwarming to watch!

  22. Galit
  23. 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 ❤️

  24. Simone
  25. Simone

    Enjoyed the film. Great

  26. Paolo
  27. Paolo

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

  28. Joyce
  29. Joyce

    Authentic, inspiring and heartwarming

  30. Thomas
  31. 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...

  32. Joyce
  33. Joyce

    Heartwarming, inspiring, authentic..

  34. Astrid
  35. Astrid

    Beautiful and heartwarming

  36. Marije
  37. Marije

    Very nice!

  38. Stijn
  39. Stijn

    Wonderful docu! Lovely narrative and you feel connected with the persons in the docu :)

  40. Sharon
  41. Sharon

    Interesting to see how a man finds his way in, a to me unknown culture, to make a part of his dream come true. Beautifully captured

  42. Luna
  43. Luna

    Inspiring documentary with a lot of positive energy

  44. Texas Grill Girl
  45. Texas Grill Girl

    OMG! What a eyeopener! I always thought those Chines people where the same as North Koreans. But they are actually human. And so much beautiful nature in there country. I thought China was one big city. I feel piety for them that they don´t have so much oil in there country. Otherwise they could build better roads in those humble little villages. I´m proud to live in USA.

  46. Deb
  47. Deb

    A heartwarming story of passion, creativity, and a love of children that transcends culture.

  48. Joris
  49. Joris

    Delightful story, we're privileged to share a fraction of the passion which drives a person to cross continents and to carve his dream in wood, string and cloth. Somehow also a bit jealous of the wonder and joy of the audience, feels like many of us have lost the ability to appreciate a performance which builds on the simplicity of content more than complexity of form. And loved the children's drawings in the end credits showing the performance, very clever, as the documentary itself.

  50. Daniel
  51. Daniel

    Intriguing, hart-warming, insightful and unique documentary. A must watch!

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