"Crows and Sparrows" is a 1949 film made during the eve of the KMT escape to Taiwan and when the Communist victory is assured. It is clear from this film that the KMT defeat is imminent, so much so that there is no veiled criticism of the Nationalist party - the criticism is pretty direct, and the two characters who embody the Nationalists, the Hou family, are portrayed very unflatteringly. Mr Hou, the Nationalist official, has been a traitor during the Sino-Japanese war, yet is able to gain control of the multi-storeyed apartment which he rents out for his own profit. What is so memorable about this film is that the other characters are very well portrayed - the somewhat timid schoolteacher and his wife; the lower class portrayed by Hu Yin and Zhao Dan; the kind but totally oppressed former old landlord, and the schoolteacher's fellow teachers and the KMT-supporting principal. The production value of this film is a step up those made in 1947 by the Kunlun Studio, such as "The Spring River Flows East", "Eight Thousand Li of Moon and Cloud" (1947) and "Myriad of Lights" (1948). Easily one of the most important and most memorable of Chinese films made in the 1940s, although it is to a certain extent an attack on the deplorable socio-economic conditions of Shanghai under the Nationalists.
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