The Ninth Grade – Jiang Nengjie


A group of students are at a crossroads in life preparing for the High School Entrance Exam, and most of them are left-behind children. Can they get good grades to change their own destiny?


Synopsis of The Ninth Grade

The ninth grade symbolizes the end of nine-year compulsory education in China. It depends on students’ performance in the High School Entrance Examination to decide if they can continue studying.

The film tells the story of a group of children from an honors class preparing for the examination in Hunan province. Most of them are left-behind children, and studying has become the only way to have better future.

However, as adolescents facing heavy homework, the pressure of preparing for the exam, the lack of funds and family education, they are at a crossroads in their lives… Can they change their own destiny?

The Ninth Grade is the second documentary of The Left-Behind Children Trilogy. The other two are Children at a Village School and Jia Yi.

Read our blog post to see reviews about issues reflected by this film from local audience.


1 hour 9 minutes | English & Simplified Chinese subtitles | HD (1920×1080)
China | 2014
Director: Jiang Nengjie
Production Company: MianHuaSha Film Studio

Awards & Film Festivals

1. Nomination, 2015 Guangzhou International Documentary Film Festival (The Golden Kapok Award)

Highlight Endorsement

“What moved me about this film are the left-behind children in the mountain village. It made us think more about family, education and society. Documentaries are not about seeking novelty but seeing something that resonates with you.”
Yi Tian, Douban reviewer

“It’s rare to see such a true documentary about education.”
Ling Zi De Jiao Luo, Douban reviewer

Reasons for Recommendation

1. Instead of the usual interview and acting techniques of documentaries, the director observes everyone in the group with direct hand-held shots and retains the core of the story completely.
2. The focus of the film on traditional Chinese education will always be a deep concern.
3. Many Chinese viewers felt the same way after watching it, recalling their ninth-grade days.

More Info

1. Related blog posts

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