Wednesday, April 13, 2011

"Give me the money:" a profile of China in the movie Not One Less

The ancient capital: Xi'an by trudeau
The ancient capital: Xi'an, a photo by trudeau on Flickr.

Wei Minzhi is the substitute teacher who learns to manage kids in the Zhang Yimou movie Not One Less.

Wei's relentless requests for payment form a theme for the movie. But it's actually Zhang Huike, the mischievous student, who says (to the mayor), "Give me the money first."

Other details -
- Teacher Gao: frugality.
- The mayor: practicality.
- Drop outs as a widespread social issue.
- Remote village: poverty and a simple life.
- One-room school: 1st through 4th graders (28), same room.
- Students board at the school when they live too far in the country.
- Yuan, currency (Japanese currency: yen)
- Lying, bribery a way of life.
- Generosity and respect also commonplace (ex: the restaurant owner who hires Zhang to wash dishes, knowing he is destitute).
- Tenacity: Wei is dogged and focused in her quest to find Zhang.
- Philanthropist: generosity as shown by the manager of the brick works.
- "The power is off," says someone at the brick works. Across the world, electricity is available intermittently. China has a huge challenge in supplying its huge population with electric power.
- Bureaucracy: as in the run-around Wei experienced at the entrance to the TV station. "I just follow the rules," said the small-minded bureaucrat.
- "Ni hao; wo jiao Leilei." "Hello; my name is Leilei." (Ni hau is also Ni hao.)