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Born in China in 1954 of 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. Following his return, he completed high school and university, where he studied art history. In 1984, he left China for France on a scholarship to study Western art. There, he developed a passion for movies and became a director of three critically-acclaimed feature-length films: China, My Sorrow (1989) (original title: Chine, ma douleur), Le mangeur de lune and Tang, le onzième. None of his movies were popular. Dai turned to writing fiction. He wrote and directed an adaptation of Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress, released in 2002. He lives in Paris and writes in French because China has banned his books and films.
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