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Anthony Wong Chau-Sang
1930's China. The village of a poor family is taken over by the occupying Japanese army. One son, Zhongliang, leaves his wife and young son to join a medic group for the Chinese Army. The other son, Zhangmin goes into hiding to protect his family. The focus shifts back and forth from the brothers' parents and Zhongliang's wife and son to Zhongliang's newfound life of luxury in a town not too far away. The plight of Zhongliang's mother, his wife, Sufan and her son, Kongeson is contrasted with Zhongliang's rise in a flourishing company. Written by
Jeff Mellinger <email@example.com>
"Yi jang chun shui xiang dong liu" was a great commercial success of its' time. After watching it, it is easy to understand why: it is simply so easy to love (and hate) the main characters, who are wonderfully played by Yang Bai and Tao Jin. Melodramas as strong as this are usually pretty ridiculous, but not when the characters are like members of your own family.
In the beginning we have a happy family who works in a factory in Shanghai of the 30's. When the Japanese attack, the husband leaves her wife, mother and son behind to fight against the cruel invaders. For eight years they are separated. In that time, the waiting wife has to face all kinds of horrors of the war and poverty, while husband marries another woman (a rich one) in another city. He becomes a bourgeois who lives a sweet life far away from war. So, the film deals with the subject that has always been so popular among the left-winged film makers: the comparison between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. It has the same message as "Die Freundlosse Gasse" and "Konets Sankt-Peterburga", etc., but it has a far more elegant way of telling it.
The mother has too many self-pitying lines and the music becomes very irritating at times. These are about all faults there is. That is a excellent effort for a three-hour-long feature. I wonder if we Europeans have ever managed to make as powerful melodrama as this.
Highly recommended to those who still believe in great emotions. Others beware.
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