Global CINEMAspectives Film & Discussion Series
Not One Less
In a village in China mired in poverty, Gao is the lone teacher in a school so poor that he must ration chalk to make sure he has enough for the day. The destitution of the village is not limited to the school; some of the children sleep in the schoolhouse because they have nowhere else to go, and many students have already dropped out to go to work to help feed their families. Gao is forced to leave town for a month, and no one in the village is able to replace him except a 13-year-old girl, Wei Minzhi, who possesses only a rudimentary education herself. Since she'll get a bonus if all students are still in school when Gao returns, she is determined that no one drop out on her watch. When one student disappears, she travels to the city to look for him. There thousands of children are working in the underground labor force or begging on the street so she has little luck. Then, she persuades a TV station manager to let her make an announcement in the hopes that someone knows where the student has gone. Professor Roger Des Forges, Department of History, will introduce the film and lead a discussion following the screening.