One Second

One Second

China | 2020 | 105 min | Zhang Yimou

April 19 - 22, 2022

A movie-obsessed escaped convict, a female vagabond, and a sought-after film reel are the focus of this exquisite ode to the magic of movies, the newest from internationally acclaimed filmmaker Zhang Yimou (Raise the Red Lantern, Shadow).

One Second is as much a tribute to the struggles of a man whose life has stolen from him as it is to a bygone way of looking at movies.” – Jake Cole (Slant)

An escaped fugitive, a female vagabond, and a sought-after film reel are the focus of this exquisite ode to the magic of movies, the newest from internationally acclaimed filmmaker Zhang Yimou (Raise the Red Lantern, The House of Flying Daggers, Hero). Set during China’s Cultural Revolution, a nameless convict (Zhang Yi, Mountains May Depart) has escaped from a labor camp in the desolate Gobi Desert and come to a small village, where a traveling movie show is playing a particular propaganda film from 1964 (Zhaodi Wu’s Heroic Sons and Daughters). He’s elated, since he has received word that his daughter, who he hasn’t seen since he was sent away, briefly appears in a pre-show newsreel. But life is never that easy, and a dirt-smeared homeless girl named Liu (Liu Haocun) spirits away with the very section of film he needs. After an extended chase that invites comparisons to the great silent comedies, during which the two take turns stealing the reel from each other, the fugitive learns that Liu has her own very valid reason for her theft. Meanwhile, the movie show’s projectionist (Fan Wei), fittingly nicknamed “Mr. Movie,” just wants to get the show on the road and keep his job. As the entire town comes to be involved with the fate of this single snippet of celluloid, Yimou’s overarching themes about both the power and illusion of cinema come alive.

  • Director: Zhang Yimou
  • Principal Cast: Fan Wei, Liu Haocun, Zhang Yi
  • Premiere Status: Seattle
  • Country: China
  • Year: 2020
  • Running Time: 105 min
  • Producer: Dong Ping
  • Screenplay: Zhang Yimou, Zou Jingzhi
  • Cinematographers: Zhao Xiaoding
  • Editors: Du Yuan
  • Music: Lao Zai
  • Awards: Asian Film Award 2021 (Best Director)
  • Filmography: Shadow (2018), Coming Home (2014), Flowers of War (2011), Curse of the Golden Flower (2007), Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles (2005), House of Flying Daggers (2004), Hero (2002), Happy Times (2000)
  • Language: Mandarin
  • Has Subtitles: Yes
  • Format: DCP
  • US Distributor: NEON
  • International Sales: Edko Films Ltd.