Run time: 109 min / year: 1999 / Chinese with English sub titles / On 21st Oct 2007 at 6 PM at Aruna Thirumana Mandapam , Opp Spencer Super Market,
Not One Less
Yimou Zhang’s "Not One Less" enlarges the possibilities of filmmaking even as it grounds itself in one of cinema's oldest, most basic principles: the camera's ability to document reality. Despite its deliberate austerity, "Not One Less" is extraordinarily rich. And despite the look and pace of raw documentary film, the movie is a splendid, assured piece of storytelling. Its narrative emerges slowly and organically from a mass of observed detail so that it feels like a series of events the camera has discovered out in the world, rather than like the realization of a scheme the filmmaker has devised beforehand in his mind.
At the center of "Not One Less" is Wei (Wei Minzhi), 13, a primary school graduate who has been pressed into service as a substitute teacher in the
Her main qualifications, other than the fact that no one else wants the job, are an innate, unsmiling bossiness, neat handwriting and her ability to perform, in a tentative, quavering voice, one song about Chairman Mao. Wei Minzhi's performance, if that is the word for it, slowly takes on a heroic cast. Her character is composed of equal parts pigheadedness and cluelessness, which is to say that she's 13 in a way that anyone who knows a real 13-year-old, or has been one, will recognize. When troublemaker Zhang Huike manages to runs away from school, forced to try to find work in the nearby city of Zhangjiakou to support his ailing, debt-ridden mother, Wei has a mission: to get to the city, recover Zhang,.
The neorealist elements of Not One Less contribute to its ability to transcend the sentimental. All of the actors in the film are amateurs. Moreover, most play a version of who they are in real life: the mayor is actually Tian Zhengda, a village mayor; the TV station manager is, in fact, the manager of a local station in
This screening is supported by :
Zhang was born in
Zhang's first work, One and Eight (as director of photography), was made in 1984 together with Zhang Junzhao. Zhang's input was telling: he shot from obscure angles, and positioned actors and actresses at the side, rather than center, to heighten dramatic effect, using a “unique and emphatic visual style, based on the asymmetrical and unbalanced composition of the shots and the shooting of color stock as though it were black and white". Like his fellow students, these aesthetics signaled a departure from the tradition interrupted by the Cultural Revolution. Local critics immediately sat up and took notice of this new cohort of daring artistes who were defying conventions of Chinese cinema.
In 1985, in appreciation of his talent, Fourth Generation director Wu Tianming invited Zhang to Xi'an Film Studio for his upcoming project Old Well. Filming of Old Well was completed in 1986, with Zhang as co-acting as cinematographer and actor — a role that won him Best Actor at the Tokyo International Film Festival. In return for his participation in Wu's project, Zhang made Wu promise logistics support for his own first directorial effort, a project that he had envisioned for some time.
In 1987 Zhang embarked on his directorial debut, Red Sorghum, starring Chinese actress Gong Li, handpicked by Zhang, in her first leading role. Released to widespread critical acclaim, Red Sorghum catapulted Zhang into the forefront of the world's art directors, winning him the Golden Bear for Best Picture at the 1988 Berlin Film Festival. He has directed 17 films till date.
Nevertheless, we could say that Zhang Yimou himself is a son of