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Not One Less (1999)
"Yi ge dou bu neng shao" (original title)

7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 6,088 users   Metascore: 73/100
Reviews: 71 user | 70 critic | 22 from Metacritic.com

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 »

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Title: Not One Less (1999)

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Cast

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
Wang Shulan ...
Stationery store clerk
Fu Xinmin ...
TV station director
Edit

Storyline

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

Plot Keywords:

city | village | teacher | promise | mountain | See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

G | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

30 October 1999 (South Korea)  »

Also Known As:

Ni uno menos  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$50,256 (USA) (18 February 2000)

Gross:

$589,114 (USA) (7 July 2000)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Quotes

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 »

Connections

Referenced in Rewind This! (2013) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Literally determination personified - Even one cannot be less
30 May 2000 | by (sf, usa) – See all my reviews

This is the depiction of a true story with the two lead characters performed by the actual person: Wei Minzhi, 13 year old young girl who is a substitute for the village teacher, and Zhang Huike, 11 year old young boy who left school to go to the city to find work to pay for family debt.

It is DERTERMINATION personified. She is one young lady who's not worried about her looks or other people's criticism. She is truly one track minded to find the lost student and to bring him home back to the village, and does not care if others are curt with her, or impolite; she's just very focused on achieving what she came to the city for - to get Zhang Huike back to the village school - no matter what it takes!

Simple setting. Poor village, city hustles. Children interactions/reactions are always a joy to watch. Lead character is devoid of guile and her stubborn determination is direct and innocent. The hesitation in her speech, her pause and silence held her own. Her performance is guileless - plainly so - that's how precious the performance is. An occasional smile is not easy to detect, as she is so engrossed in her mission; the continuous smile towards the end is well earned. There is magic after all.

This is a rare gem from director Zhang Yimou, quite a different flavor from his film collaborations with heaven-sent leading lady Gong Li.


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