MAILED: Sept. 8, 2000
Zhang Yimou's "Not One Less" (China 1999) will open the 2000-01 series of international films at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Sept. 14-17.
Contrasting urban and rural life while subtly commenting on the struggling Chinese school system, the G-rated drama will screen Thursday through Sunday at 6 and 8:30 p.m. in Davies Theatre.
"'Not One Less' is not only about the poor in China's remote rural areas but could be dedicated to them," wrote film critic Roger Ebert. "We sense that Zhang Yimou, the director of such sophisticated films as 'Raise the Red Lantern' and 'Shanghai Triad,' is returning here to memories of the years from 1968 to 1978, when he worked as a rural laborer under the Cultural Revolution. His story is simple, unadorned, direct. Only the margins are complicated."
Wei Minzhi leads the cast of nonprofessional actors playing characters with their own names. She stars as Wei, a 13-year-old peasant girl ordered to serve as a substitute teacher in a mountainous rural village.
Since the school's subsidy is based on head count, Wei is promised a bonus if there is "not one less" student when the schoolmaster returns. Within days Wei finds herself one child short when the class clown (Zhang Huike) is sent to the city to work off his parents' debts. The young teacher mobilizes her 26 remaining students to raise money for her journey to Jiangjiakou City, where she stubbornly searches the bewildering streets for the little boy.
"Teacher Wei will not take no for an answer, and the force of her will transports this movie beyond naturalism into the realm of poetry," wrote The New York Times. "'Not One Less' earns its emotional payoff the hard way. It may be the greatest film ever made about obstinacy, which it reveals to be not only a virtue but also a species of grace."
The 106-minute color film is in Mandarin, subtitled in English.
Tickets, available at the University Service Center, (715) 836-3727, are $2 for International Film Society members and UW-Eau Claire faculty and staff or $1 for UW-Eau Claire students.
Membership in the International Film Society entitles community members to purchase tickets to IFS presentations and films sponsored by the University Activities Commission of the Student Senate throughout the year. Members also receive a newsletter with advance information about IFS films. An individual IFS membership costs $4; a family membership costs $10.
UAC films this fall include "Fight Club" (Sept. 7-10); "Shaft" (Sept. 21-24); "Boys Don't Cry" (Sept. 28-Oct. 1); "Pecker" (Oct. 12-15); "The Wizard of Oz" with music by Pink Floyd (Oct. 26-29); "Dr. Strangelove" (Nov. 2-5); "Barbarella" (Nov. 16-19); "Being John Malkovich" (Dec. 7-10); and "Orgazmo" (Dec. 14-17).
Fall semester presentations by the International Film Society include Claude Chabrol's "The Swindle" (Oct. 5-8); Pavel Chukhraj's "The Thief" (Oct. 19-22); Gillies MacKinnon's "Regeneration" (Nov. 9-12); and Michael Apted's "42 Up" (Nov. 30-Dec. 3).
All films screen in the 250-seat theater in Davies Center on lower campus. Complete schedule information is available from the Activities and Programs office, (715) 836-4833.
Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: Sept. 8, 2000