Not One Less (1999)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBBB

Original title:  Yi ge dou bu neng shao

China, 1999.  Bejing New Picture Distribution Company, Columbia Pictures Corporation, Film Productions Asia, Guangxi Film Studio.  Screenplay by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by . European Film Awards 1999.   Venice Film Festival 1999.  

Exceptional filmmaking from one of China’s most brilliant filmmakers, Zhang Yimou. Known mostly for his opulent period pieces, Zhang returns to the grittiness of The Story of Qiu Ju, using real actors more or less playing themselves in a true story.  Thirteen year-old is hired as to replace a temporarily departing schoolteacher in a tiny village, told she will be given a salary bonus if he comes back and finds that all the students have remained enrolled during her absence. In these poor villages it is a common occurrence for parents to take their children out of school and send them to the city to work, so the young girl’s quest to maintain her numbers takes her on a terrifying journey. Compelling and exquisite, not to mention a politically subversive examination of economics in communist China, this film greatly benefits from Zhang’s emphasis on honesty when filming children, all of them delightful and endearing.

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