The Dwarf in China

The Dwarf in China

2014, Society  -   29 Comments
Ratings: 8.65/10 from 479 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

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4 years ago

Loved it! So much care and love had been put into this journey and film!

6 years ago

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

6 years ago

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.

6 years ago

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

Texas Grill Girl
6 years ago

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.

6 years ago

Inspiring documentary with a lot of positive energy

6 years ago

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

6 years ago

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

6 years ago

Very nice!

6 years ago

Beautiful and heartwarming

6 years ago

Heartwarming, inspiring, authentic..

6 years ago

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...

6 years ago

Authentic, inspiring and heartwarming

6 years ago

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

6 years ago

Enjoyed the film. Great

6 years ago

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 ❤️

Truus Uiterwijk Winkel
6 years ago

What a wonderful story and heartwarming to watch!

6 years ago

...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...

Michele Marie
6 years ago

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

Marijke Dolman
6 years ago

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...

6 years ago

Thank you for such a heart and soul touching film !

Andreas Ludwig
6 years ago

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.

LeeJai Cook
6 years ago

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

Steven harding
6 years ago

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

6 years ago

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

6 years ago

Beautiful documentary!!! To see!

6 years ago

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