Sunday, August 4, 2013

Family Movie Night: Not One Less

Title: Not One Less
Director: Zhang Yimou
Original Release: 1999
Choice: Mine
My Overall Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Image via Wikipedia

The Chinese film Not One Less is a fictional account of a 13-years-young substitute teacher trying to hold onto all of her 28 pupils while their regular teacher is away for a month. When one of her charges leaves the rural village to find work in the city, Teacher Wei goes after him. Her search feels a bit like an anxiety dream at times but the culmination is predictably inspiring.

In order to preserve a strong sense of reality, Zhang cast the parts with amateur actors whose real-life jobs reflected their characters.  The man playing the town mayor truly is the mayor of a small village, the TV show host really is a TV show host and so forth. The film coincided with a strong push by the Chinese government towards education reform. Government censors oversaw production closely so nothing in the film is overly critical.  The film suffered on the international festival circuit for its perceived political leanings but still did pretty well, winning The Venice Film Festival's Golden Lion among other accolades.


  1. Sounds like such an interesting film considering the people playing roles really do play those roles in "real life". I'd like to see it :)

    1. As a result, the film does have an earthier feel to it, almost like a documentary but not quite.

  2. I'd like to see it too. It sounds like a plausible premise. Brad Pitt had to remove references to China from his latest World War Z film. I hate to see the movie business politicised, but I guess it's always been so to a certain extent.

    Just letting you know I"ve begun a monthly bloghop too (to replace an earlier one, RomanticFridayWriters). Now you can post just about anything to a monthly theme. August is VACATION. You are welcome to have a squizz. Run much like your The Cephalopod Coffeehouse. Has been an enthusiastic response so far. Details at Write...Edit...Publish.

    Can't wait to publish my review!

    Cheers! Denise.

    1. Plausible? I suppose. We did wonder at the end if it was based on a true story but apparently not. There are definitely moments that veer toward propaganda but it's a satisfying tale in the end.

      Oh, boy! Your blog hop is a bit more challenging than mine, I'd say. I'll definitely give it some thought. I'm not one to do a whole lot of writing beyond the blog these days but big picture, I'd like to be doing more. Again, I'll give it some thought. Thanks for the heads up.

  3. Replies
    1. Yes. I feel no need to see it again but it was fun.

      I used to post my rating system with each of these but got out of the habit. Most movies are 3s. They're fine. Nothing horribly wrong with them but once was enough. The 2s are the ones I'm tempted not to finish. The 1s are truly horrible.

      4s hold up to repeated viewings. 5s are the ones by which I judge all others. I tend to be generous with 3s but stingy with 4s and 5s.

  4. Your rating system sounds about right. I hadn't heard of this film, but it sounds like one that I wouldn't mind seeing. Thanks!

    1. I must credit Netflix for making the recommendation for me. I hadn't heard of it either.

      Thanks, Kerry!