Acclaimed director Zhang Yimou's visual flair and sense of irony color this interesting social-problem film, which takes a hard look at education in provincial China. A family emergency forces Teacher Gao (Gao Enman) to temporarily leave his post as primary-school
teacher in a tiny mountain village called Shuixian. Rosy-cheeked, 13-year-old Wei Minzhi (Wei Minzhi) arrives to take his place, even though she isn't much older or better educated than the students; the impoverished school is too poor to be choosy, and Minzhi needs the 50 yuans promised her by
the town's mayor (Tian Zhenda). The children of poor mountain families have been leaving school in droves, and t...