73 user 73 critic

Yi ge dou bu neng shao (1999)

In a remote mountain village, the teacher must leave for a month, and the mayor can find only a 13-year old girl, Wei Minzhi, to substitute. The teacher leaves one stick of chalk for each ... See full summary »



Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

17 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Prompted by the death of his father and the grief of his mother, a man recalls the story of how they met in flashback.

Director: Yimou Zhang
Stars: Ziyi Zhang, Honglei Sun, Hao Zheng
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A pregnant peasant woman seeks redress from the Chinese bureaucracy after the village chief kicks her husband in the groin in this comedy of justice. As she is frustrated by each level of ... See full summary »

Director: Yimou Zhang
Stars: Li Gong, Peiqi Liu, Liuchun Yang
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A Japanese father travels to China's Yunnan province in the place of his ailing son to film a famous folk-opera star.

Director: Yimou Zhang
Stars: Ken Takakura, Kiichi Nakai, Shinobu Terajima
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A spurned lover seeks a rich man for revenge. A random onlooker -- who witnessed the public assault committed by the rich man against the lover -- seeks for monetary compensation for his ... See full summary »

Director: Yimou Zhang
Stars: You Ge, Wen Jiang, Gang Jiao
Happy Times (2000)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Zhao is an aging bachelor who hasn't been lucky in love. Thinking he has finally met the woman of his dreams, Zhao leads her to believe he is wealthy and agrees to a wedding far beyond his ... See full summary »

Director: Yimou Zhang
Stars: Lifan Dong, Benshan Zhao, Jie Dong
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

In 1930s China a young woman is sent by her father to marry the leprous owner of a winery. In the nearby red sorghum fields she falls for one of his servants. When the master dies she finds... See full summary »

Director: Yimou Zhang
Stars: Li Gong, Wen Jiang, Rujun Ten
Ju Dou (1990)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A woman married to the brutal and infertile owner of a dye mill in rural China conceives a boy with her husband's nephew but is forced to raise her son as her husband's heir without ... See full summary »

Directors: Yimou Zhang, Fengliang Yang
Stars: Li Gong, Wei Li, Baotian Li
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A provincial boy related to a Shanghai crime family is recruited by his uncle into cosmopolitan Shanghai in the 1930s to be a servant to a ganglord's mistress.

Director: Yimou Zhang
Stars: Li Gong, Baotian Li, Xiaoxiao Wang
To Live (1994)
Drama | History | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

After Fugui and Jiazhen lose their personal fortunes, they raise a family and survive difficult cultural changes during 1940s to 1970s China.

Director: Yimou Zhang
Stars: You Ge, Li Gong, Ben Niu
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Romance sparks between a young woman and a young man from different economic backgrounds during China's Cultural Revolution of the 1960s and '70s.

Director: Yimou Zhang
Stars: Dongyu Zhou, Shawn Dou, Meijuan Xi
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A young woman becomes the fourth wife of a wealthy lord, and must learn to live with the strict rules and tensions within the household.

Director: Yimou Zhang
Stars: Li Gong, Jingwu Ma, Saifei He
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
Director: Yimou Zhang


Cast overview, first billed only:
Minzhi Wei ...
Huike Zhang ...
Zhang Huike
Zhenda Tian ...
Village Chief
Enman Gao ...
Teacher Gao
Zhimei Sun ...
Sun Zhimei
Yuying Feng ...
TV Receptionist
Fanfan Li ...
TV Host
Yichang Zhang ...
Mr Zhang, instructor
Zhanqing Xu ...
Brick factory owner
Hanzhi Liu ...
Zhang Huike's mother
Ma Guolin ...
Bus station man
Wu Wanlu ...
TV station manager
Liu Ru ...
Train station announcer
Shulan Wang ...
Stationery store clerk
Xinmin Fu ...
TV station director


In a remote mountain village, the teacher must leave for a month, and the mayor can find only a 13-year old girl, Wei Minzhi, to substitute. The teacher leaves one stick of chalk for each day and promises her an extra 10 yuan if there's not one less student when he returns. Within days, poverty forces the class troublemaker, Zhang Huike, to leave for the city to work. Minzhi, possessed of a stubborn streak, determines to bring him back. She enlists the 26 remaining pupils in earning money for her trip. She hitches to Jiangjiakou City and begins her search. The boy, meanwhile, is there, lost and begging for food. Minzhi's stubbornness may be Huike and the village school's salvation. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis




G | See all certifications »




Release Date:

30 October 1999 (South Korea)  »

Also Known As:

Ni uno menos  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$50,256 (USA) (20 February 2000)


$589,114 (USA) (9 July 2000)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Yimou insisted on capturing natural reactions from the amateur actors. To achieve this, he often used hidden cameras and microphones. This resulted in a film-shot to film-used ratio of 35 to 1. Normally, because of cost, the ratio should be 3.5 to 1. However, because the film was shot on 16mm (an later blown up to 35mm), the price was about the same because of the cheaper film stock. See more »


TV Host: Do you like the city?
Zhang Huike: Yes.
TV Host: What is good about it?
Zhang Huike: The city is beautiful and prosperous. Much better than the country.
TV Host: What's the most lasting impression?
Zhang Huike: That I had to beg for food. I will always remember that.
See more »


References The Story of Qiu Ju (1992) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Let the reality show and speak and shine
5 June 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Wei Minzhi plays Wei MinZhi, Zhang Huike plays Zhang Huike, the village mayor plays the village mayor... As a matter of fact, and in a clear statement of sort, the whole cast of this movie are real and ordinary people.

Zhang Yimou has gone the extraordinary miles to let reality tell the stories, stories of the decline and poverty in parts of rural China, of heart-wrenching conditions for schools and education under such poverty, of heart-warming spirit of happy, lively and adorable children in Shuiquan school blissfully ignorant of their condition, and of the 13 year old peasant girl Wei Mizhi's single minded determination for "Not One Less".

This movie is Zhang's daring experiment to use "normal reality" to tell reality, and he has achieved convincingly his goal. All characters in this movie are real, as in reality real. They are real because they have no means of being unreal, and that is the whole point of using real people.

Wei Minzhi's self-display (since I can not use the word performance here) is what she is: a 13 year old poor, good-natured, no-nonsense, single minded and tenacious peasant girl. She quickly learns to use her toughness to discipline or even bully her students. She seldom smiles, but is actually a pretty good leader because of her no-nonsense and toughness and single mindedness. She is extremely tenacious and is obsessed with "Not One Less".

The blissfully happy 10 year old trouble-maker and prospect kid migrant worker Zhang Huike's display is just so good that it is almost unreal. The village mayor is a natural real. Sun Zhimei, the girl who lost Zhang Huike in the city, is also as real as you can get.

The people I really like in this movie are the three girl students who sleep in school: Zhang Mingshan, Jiao Jie and Ming Xinhong. Zhang Mingshan is just so pretty and adorable. She is also smart and is a "student cadre". Jiao Jie has a such vivacious smile and has already some good business sense as she comes up with the moving brick idea and the cheating on bus ticket idea. Ming Xinhong loves to run, and her fleeting smile in the car leaving for athlete training school is simply priceless.

Ironically, notwithstanding the poor condition in Shuiquan school, I feel very warm and touched by the good spirit of the children. Shuiquan school is actually working, and working quite well, thanks to good teacher like Gao, good village mayor like Tian, and also to the "student cadre" system, all of which are legacy of Mao's era. Just look at how smart, creative and participating the students are in trying to solve the bus fair problem for Wei Minzhi, you know something is very right in that school. One of the right things in that school is the "student cadres" like the pretty, smart and caring Zhang Mingshan who's title is "study commissar" (xuexi weiyuan), usually the most responsible student in class and a teacher's favorite. We also see a boy "student cadre" in charge of morning "military drill" and flag raise ceremony.

Wei Minzhi is most of the time an uncaring teacher, except the issue of "Not One Less" which involves her pay. The one who real cares and helps out the class is the beautiful "study commissar" Zhang Mingshan. She writes out a student name list for Wei to do roll calls. When Wei sits outside letting trouble maker Zhang Huike reign free, she tells Wei that it is her (Wei) duty as a teacher to do something. When Huike knocks the precious chalks off the ground, she picks up these chalks and telling the tugging and struggling Wei and Huike don't step on the chalks. She even criticizes in her diary (read out by Huike in class over her protests but at the insistence of Wei) that Wei is not taking good care of chalks like teacher Gao would...

A little girl living in poverty and in that utterly dilapidated school but still writes a caring dairy of what is going on in class, something is very right.

Unlike many other Zhang Yimou's movies which are persistently followed with complaint by Chinese audience for "being tailored and catering to foreign taste and curiosity", "Not One Less" is very well received in China. In a surprise reversal of Zhang's fortune with Chinese authority, this movie has even been promoted as a "propaganda material" of sort by the Chinese government in its campaign for better rural education.

29 of 30 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: