Thursday, December 14

Movie recommendation: Not One Less

I thought I'd step out of the usual scope of my posts and recommend a movie. Not one less is a Chinese movie directed by Zhang Yimou. You may know him from his recent movies, Hero and House of Flying Daggers.

It's about this rural Chinese substitute teacher, barely 13 years old, who is sent in to substitute at another rural village. The students aged between 4-8 come from really poor families. Since they're poor some of their classmates have already left school in order to work in the city to made ends meet. The teacher who she is substituting for, needs to attend to his sick mother,and he promises her an added sum of money if she can somehow keep the kids from abandoning.

The movie is simple, thought provoking, honest and it reflects how poor and impoverished certain parts of the world really are. It's the same tale in Pakistan, where poor children work rather than study. Though its a different story whether or not they can even afford the education.

What makes this movie seem a lot more genuine is the use of real people rather than actors. It was a really good foreign flick, and if you're into these types of films, I would highly recommend it!

Sony distributes this film in the US and they have a pretty helpful promotional page on it.

My rating: 8/10


Joey said...

Hey, I've seen this movie, and more people in America should. I wonder where you saw it. Did you rent it or see it on the big screen? The international cinema at my college showed it a while back, and now I always keep an eye out for Chinese films.

omarhaq said...

Wow - i just posted this on my blog about 10 seconds ago. How did you find this so fast!

I borrowed it from the public library in my town. Found it randomly. But I know this director. He always has cool movies.

Yeah - I just recently saw another chinese film. Beijing Bicycle. Have you seen that?

Joey said...

Your blog came up on the 'next blog button.' I haven't seen Beijing bicycle. One of my favorite chinese movies is "To Live." It's about communism. There's another one--not Chinese, but about China--called Shadow Magic, about the first motion pictures in China. It's really good too.

omarhaq said...

cool! thanks for the recommendations.

I'll make it a point to check those out

rae said...
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rae said...

I've seen this too. I thought it was brilliant how he used regular people in the film. The substitute teacher is, at times, uncomfortable/awkward/hesitant in front of the camera and that endears you to her and the journey she goes through. I enjoyed it.

(I came here through the next blog roll feature on blogger's homepage as well) :)

omarhaq said...

I actually didn't know that this particular director uses regular people. I was so surprised when I read the names of the cast at the end of the movie.

i really haven't seen too many movies like this. Is it unique? It must be awfully hard to pull this off succesfully

rae said...

I thought it was brilliant the way he did it. He didn't do any prepping of the actors before filming began, and to make it as real as possible, he tried to hide the cameras and other equipment so they could really be in their environment. That's why the movie was so realistic...because they were exactly the people they were to portray. I'd say it's pretty unique...and quite difficult to pull off. Glad you enjoyed it!

omarhaq said...

doesn't that make you want to go and visit that village and talk to that teacher. i wonder if her life changed for the better after the movie...

so the story was real? or just the characters?