Sunday, October 5, 2008

Not One Less

Dir: Zhang Yimou, China, 2000 (7.8*)

This is one of the slower Yimou films, but still worth seeing, as are they all. The story involves a 13-yr old girl who must substitute in a rural mountain school when the teacher has to go on personal leave for one month. He offers her an extra 50 yuan if there is "not one less student" when he returns (due to kids dropping out), so it becomes the girls guiding principle in running the school, full of students not much younger than her. When one student goes to a nearby city to work to pay his family's debt, the girl, brilliantly portrayed by Wei Minzhi, is determined to bring him back. This is a more touching story for the fact that Yimou used not professional actors but actual real life people to portray their own "fictional" roles in the movie; that is, the head of a tv station was played by a real tv station manager, the teacher was a real elementary school teacher. The performances he elicits from children and the message of this almost propogandist statement make this film a must-see.


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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.

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