Down 6,541 this week

Spring in a Small Town (1948)
"Xiao cheng zhi chun" (original title)

Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.7/10 from 1,088 users  
Reviews: 10 user | 19 critic

Following WWII and with China brought to it's knees by the actions of the Japanese, prior to the rise of the Communists, led by Chairman Mao. This is the time during which Fei Mu's film ... See full summary »



0Check in

Editors' Spotlight

IMDb: What to Watch - Guardians of the Galaxy

In the latest episode of IMDb: What to Watch, Keith Simanton talks with director James Gunn and actors Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana and Vin Diesel about their movie Guardians of the Galaxy.

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 24 titles
created 02 May 2011
a list of 25 titles
created 19 Jul 2011
a list of 25 titles
created 30 Jul 2011
a list of 30 titles
created 21 Dec 2011
a list of 27 titles
created 30 Dec 2012

Related Items

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: Spring in a Small Town (1948)

Spring in a Small Town (1948) on IMDb 7.7/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Spring in a Small Town.
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Sheng si hen (1948)
Drama | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Director: Mu Fei
Stars: Mei Lanfang, Miao-Xiang Jiang, Qing-shan Li
The Goddess (1934)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Street walker by night, devoted mother by day, a woman fights to get her young son an education amid criminal and social injustice in China.

Director: Yonggang Wu
Stars: Lingyu Ruan, Tian Jian, Zhizhi Zhang
Street Angel (1937)
Comedy | Drama | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Director: Muzhi Yuan
Stars: Dan Zhao, Heling Wei, Xuan Zhou
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

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 ... See full summary »

Directors: Chusheng Cai, Junli Zheng
Stars: Yang Bai, Tao Jin, Yang Nai
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
Director: Mu Fei
Stars: Qing Jiang, Li-li Li
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Three teenagers forced to leave their family, friends and homes behind learn to live in yet another hostile country. That country is the UK.

Director: Bruce Goodison
Stars: Jake Davies, Alex Harvey, Toby Jones
Yellow Earth (1984)
Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

'Yellow Earth' focuses on the story of a communist soldier who is sent to the countryside to collect folk songs for the Communist Revolution. There he stays with a peasant family and learns... See full summary »

Director: Kaige Chen
Stars: Xueqi Wang, Bai Xue, Quiang Liu
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Directors: Chusheng Cai, Mu Fei, and 6 more credits »
Stars: Qing Jiang, Xi Mei, Fu Shen
Black Snow (1990)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A semi-literate who was deprived of schooling during the Cultural Revolution, Li Huiquan, is released from labor camp. But his attempts to make good are continually thwarted. His street ... See full summary »

Director: Fei Xie
Stars: Hongxiang Cai, Wen Jiang, Tian Liang
Confucius (1940)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
Director: Mu Fei
Stars: Wan'er Murong, Chong Pei, Yingcai Sima
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
Director: Edward Yang
Stars: Chen Chang, Lisa Yang, Kuo-Chu Chang
Zedj (1971)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Director: Dimitre Osmanli
Stars: Neda Spasojevic, Snezana Stameska, Aco Jovanovski


Credited cast:
Chaoming Cui ...
Lao Huang
Wei Li ...
Zhang Zhichen
Yu Shi ...
Dai Liyan
Wei Wei ...
Zhou Yuwen
Hongmei Zhang ...


Following WWII and with China brought to it's knees by the actions of the Japanese, prior to the rise of the Communists, led by Chairman Mao. This is the time during which Fei Mu's film takes place. Wei Wei plays a woman who lives a lonely life, shackled by her care for her gentle, but ill husband (Shi Yu)- that is until her first love reappears into her life. This is Fei's penultimate film as director, but is still enjoyed by many today as one of his best works, despite the film being thought lost or destroyed by the Communists. It has now been a firm favourite of many since it was rediscovered in the 80's and some rate it as one of the greatest Chinese movies in history. Written by Toby Elliot

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Romance





Release Date:

10 November 1993 (Germany)  »

Also Known As:

Spring in a Small Town  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Voted the best Chinese-language film of all time by the Hong Kong Film Critics Society in 2002. See more »


Referenced in Ngon na ma dak lin na (1998) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Despite Excell., Re-make This Stands Alone
13 February 2011 | by (ny-vt) – See all my reviews

"Spring in a Small Town" is a remarkable fusion of classic form and the convincingly real. It moves from its central character, Yuwen, who is isolated in a small town, and in an arranged marriage with an ill neurasthenic husband, Lyan; and moves too from a truly enduring acting job by Wei Wei as Yuwen.

The story revolves around memory: memory of love, and memory of a pre-war period of youthful promise. These moments of being are stirred to life by the visit of the husband's long estranged friend Zhang, who is now a city doctor. Zhang means renewed life and vigor at the desolate, war ruined estate of the noble Lyan, and love and passion to Yuwen, who happens to have been someone she once loved as a teen.

But Zhang's surprising appearance is more widening of vision than epiphanal. It's complicated by Yuwen's passionate desires and longings concentrated under the guise of romance, the doctor's scruples and detachment, her husband's illness, depression, and stoic passivity, and her sister-in-law's budding mutual relationship with Zhang. But there is no love triangle here, nor double love-triangle--something far more subtle is happening and it's happening in that whole arena suggestive of love and affection--one that extends into a range of human emotions, but is not romantic love itself.

Although there is clearly a patriarchal social world at work here, its oppressions are not exactly active in or bearing down on the two male and two female characters of this intimate drama. Each character has a kind of self-direction which comes from some inner sense of integrity, and acceptance of the life dealt them. They have deep emotions, but these are more felt than viewed. In other words, no one character dominates any other, so that each is free to call upon aspects of themselves which can result in self-determined responses and/or personal changes that are small but lasting adjustments.

The result is a world of stasis and intimacy which bears the physical-ness of the natural world. The characters seem to be as embodied as the stones of the ancient walls of the estate. They exist and move in a kind of equal world in which each senses the most minute emotion, movement, or thought in another--sometimes in soundless scenes. Honesty and simplicity arising from honoring the complexity of human-ness are what sets Fei Mu's film apart.

"Spring" is one of the most beautiful of all films because the things of beauty, sensuality, love, the natural world are more akin to hints than expressions. A breeze, spring sunshine, plants, the moon, water, fire are almost unnoticeably present, as are glimmering lights in an interior stillness. And all this bears more weight because of the period between war and change which seems to create a profounder environment. One in which the destruction of towns and persons is experienced in say the town's depopulation or the mild husband's bitterness and self-defeat. Yes, buildings and lives are equally vulnerable in Fei Mu's somewhat inconsolable world.

But "Spring" is as much about spring, as it is about the gravitas of war. Lyan's young sister Xiu has a youthful spontaneous presence which with all its trust, directness, driving sympathy pushes both her brother into re-connecting to memory, and her sister-in-law into and through the painful memory of Zhang's failure to be in love with her back then.

In the end, Yuwen may not be less alone, but she is more in sync with her husband's now awakened life and affection and more in touch with her own emotional life which was deeper than what she understood it to be. Dr. Zhang and Liyan do not answer her passions, but they have both contributed to her more certain grasp of them. There is a touch of sadness at end though, because the male social structures are still in place and Yuwen needs a fuller life--it's perhaps promised in her sister-in-laws embrace of all that must await both women.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
How can I see this film? JohnMoore
Discuss Spring in a Small Town (1948) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: