Less is definitely more

Rating: NNNNNNOT ONE LESS (Zhang Yimou, 1999) marks the distillation of Zhang Yimou's style and vision. Freed from the stupefying.


Rating: NNNNN


NOT ONE LESS (Zhang Yimou, 1999) marks the distillation of Zhang Yimou’s style and vision. Freed from the stupefying beauty of leading lady Gong Li, he’s now crafting rougher stories with more bite. In Not One Less, Wei Minzhi stars as a peasant girl yanked into running a rural school and trying to profit from it. Though it begins as a portrait of a typically determined Zhang heroine, this is a daring condemnation of China’s new economy. Everyone in Not One Less is motivated by money, and it pisses Zhang off. When the action shifts from the country to the city, the film gets sharper and more moving. But even as the story catalogues raw greed, Zhang’s perspective remains open, even forgiving. There’s a growing grace and clarity to his style. The result, especially toward the end of this film, can be heartbreaking. NNNN (August 7-8, Music Hall)

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