In the Trivia section, it says that Yimou did indeed use stealth shooting because he wanted to get natural reactions from non-actors. I didn't read that until after I'd seen the movie (loved it!). I noticed that almost every man who stopped to listen to her question asked her to repeat it twice. That seemed strange to me, so I thought perhaps she had a "countrified" accent that was difficult for the city people to understand. But that couldn't be right since no one else she met had a problem understanding her. Those were great reactions, though! Definitely a genius idea. I'm glad I didn't know beforehand.