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Spring in a Small Town (1948)

Xiao cheng zhi chun (original title)
A lonely housewife finds her monotonous life altered when her childhood sweetheart returns to town.

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Cast

Credited cast:
Chaoming Cui ...
Wei Li ...
Yu Shi ...
Wei Wei ...
Hongmei Zhang ...
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Storyline

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. It has now been a firm favorite of many since it was restored in the 80's by the China Film Archive and some rate it as one of the greatest Chinese movies in history. Written by Toby Elliot

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Drama | Romance

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10 November 1993 (Germany)  »

Also Known As:

Spring in a Small Town  »

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1.37 : 1
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Trivia

Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »

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Referenced in Zhantai (2000) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A little seen masterpiece
25 June 2015 | by See all my reviews

For decades it was almost impossible to see Chinese films here in the West so directors like Mu Fei meant little to us but if "Spring in a Small Town" had been the only film he'd made his place in cinematic history would still be assured. This small, simple masterpiece is one of the greatest love stories ever filmed and yet the lovers hardly ever touch and never kiss and sex never rears its head and yet theirs is a passion of the most devastating kind.

The plot is incredibly simple and there are only five characters. A young husband, ill with TB, lives with his unhappy wife, his younger sister and a male servant in a house damaged from eight years of war. One day an old childhood friend comes to visit and, as it turns out, he is, unbeknown to the husband, an old flame of the wife's. The visitor is embarrassed by the situation as he awakens feelings in the wife that she has long repressed.

There's an almost Chekovian sense of loss and regret to the picture that might have seemed rare in a western film of the period. It's beautifully acted, particularly by Wei Wei as the wife, and gorgeously photographed in black and white by Shengwei Li. It was remade in 2002 by Zhuangzhuang Tian and for once the remake didn't disgrace the original and shouldn't be missed either but this is the real deal. World cinema doesn't get much better.


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