I assure you I have seen such schools and not in such remote areas in Indonesia, India, Afghanistan and in what was Portuguese Timor. Her problems seem to be just beginning. Thus teacher Gao really is teacher Gao! Wei Minzhi's self-display since I can not use the word performance here is what she is: a 13 year old poor, good-natured, no-nonsense, single minded and tenacious peasant girl. He won the Golden Lion in 1992 and 1999, and the Silver Lion in 1991. When one of her students, Zhang Zhang Huike , runs away to look for work in the big city, Wei determines to follow him and bring him back.
Since the one room school is falling apart at the seams, we understand that the teacher has no alternative. During the the younger Zhang spent years in on a farm; he later worked in a factory. The story is told in quite a simple manner. Imagine a 13-year-old kid forced by the need to earn and teach other kids almost her own age. For the characters, Wei is a substitute school teacher who would go to extremes high determination from handling a class to walking around the city looking for a missing person.
Now you might think that such a building could not possibly be a schoolhouse in remote rural China, or anywhere else. I will not say anything about the story: you can see it for yourself. It is reminiscent in some ways of a Balzac novel, which inevitably depicts the denizens of Paris involved in similar haggling. Since she doesn't know the first thing about teaching, the best she can do is copy lessons from the teacher's textbook on the blackboard--making sure not to exceed her chalk ration for that day. In fact the mayor comes by and peeks into the classroom and is delighted to see that the substitute teacher knows how to teach math! Wei feels the absolute fear of her failure to keep her pledge and is desperate to go and find young Zhang. Zhang Huike pauses and the smile fades : That I had to beg for food.
After she has finished transcribing the words, the students will then dutifully enter them into their composition books. And as always his work rises above and exists in a place outside of political propaganda as does the work of all great artists. There Zhang studied with a group of aspiring filmmakers—notably and Tian Zhuangzhuang—that became known as the Fifth Generation. All characters in this movie are real, as in reality real. As a note aside, notice the credits; although this movie is based on a Chinese novel, the director selected actors and actresses from the real world to play their real-life partscomplete with their real names and titles. Also, it does seem that none of the people in the film were professional actors, which is amazing in spite of a sort of documentary feel at times. Set in China but the themes could be matched to many places in the developing world.
The film might be too slow for the brain-dead Hollywood types. This is in fact a movie that can be viewed by children, who will, I suspect, identify very strongly with the story. The film then went on to win the top award, the Golden Lion, at the Venice Film Fest. It touches on issues such as poverty, child labor and illiteracy. What if it is overcast? The lesson plans are to copy some lessons on the chalkboard and to get the students to copy the copy. The critically acclaimed epic—which won the Golden Bear at the —starred as a woman sold into marriage. The way a burning social problem, effects of poverty on the education system and poor children, is interestingly woven into a story and captivating plot structure.
It is used as a bedroom and bathroom for people who have no other place to go. I was moved not only by the cultural value and socio-economic perspective of the movie, but also by the themes of compassion, hope, and diligence. What makes the film unique is the way its humanity overspills in simplified yet compelling terms of matter-of-factness without pandering or plucking the audiences' emotions for cheap sentiment, but rather of just how well off many nations truly are. Zhang Yimou, whose films have sometimes landed him in trouble with the authorities, seems to have made a safe one this time. It was shot in neo-realistic style, style with a troupe of non-professional actors who play characters with the same names and occupations as in real life. Her handwriting is neat and orderly but as the film progresses, we come to see that Teacher Wei is only a little more schooled than her charges.
She knows one song a Maoist propaganda song and that not very well. Zhang Yimou is talking to the child in all of us and he does it without preaching or through any didactic manipulation of adult verses child values. It is realistic enough as who are we to say that a situation such as Wei? When he says he has already lost 10 students you know he has felt the loss of every single one. On the talk show, Wei is nervous and hardly says a word when the host Li Fanfan addresses her, but Zhang—who has been wandering the streets begging for food—sees the show. How he manages to capture these people in the natural presentations of their characters is impressive. Wei is promised the hard-earned sum of ten yuan if the departing teacher finds the same number of students in class on his return.
This film is innovative, delicate, and harshly authentic. This equation is masterfully handled by Zhang with his own ineffable sense of economy. At the Honolulu International Film Festival in 2001 I was able to ask several Asian film directors about which new films they recommended. I suppose 'heart warming' are the first words that come to mind but lest that put anyone off, I have to say that it is the way Mr Zhang involves us from the very beginning that is the reason for the film's success. How to find the boy in such a sea of humanity? When Zhang Huike, the class trouble-maker played by Zhang Huike , quits school and heads for the city to find work, Wei schemes ways to get him and bring him back. And because they are children, the students begin to test her a little. It gets better if you think education occurs best when children take an active role in lessons situated in a context meaningful to them see the math lessons in the movie.
Like the very best of the very best movies, this one works like a magic spell from beginning to end. Cast Cast overview, first billed only:. No music, no flairs and, save for one - Li Fan Fan - no real celebrities. Pointing to the barnyard outside the schoolroom, he says that the size of a donkey turd is just about right. Yimou is critical of the economic gap between urban and rural folks, and the prevalence of red-tape bureaucracy and strict authority figures in everyday life.
As a matter of fact, and in a clear statement of sort, the whole cast of this movie are real and ordinary people. Wei, concerned about receiving her pay of 50 yuan, promises that no student will leave while she is there. Then the next day, until—you have to see it to appreciate the delightful, satisfying ending. Huozhe received the Grand Jury Prize at the , but Chinese authorities refused to let Zhang attend the ceremony. When one little girl is picked to go to a sports camp because she can run, Wei hides her from the authorities. She does get to the city, though not by bus as she had planned. Personally I was stunned by the deep impact this film had on me.