The eight-year marriage of Liyan and Yuwen has left them both unfulfilled and distant. A visitor arrives from Shanghai, a doctor who's an old school friend of Liyan's and, unbeknownst to her husband, Yuwen's childhood sweetheart.
Liyan and Yuwen live in post-war torpor, childless but with Liyan's school-aged sister. He coughs, imagining he has TB; Yuwan embroiders; they sleep in separate rooms. A surprise visit from Liyan's boyhood friend Zhang, a big city physician, wakes up the household. To Zhang's amazement, he discovers his friend's wife is his own youthful sweetheart. Possibilities abound: an affair, an arranged marriage of Zhang and Little Sister, now 16, or simply ending ennui and embracing vitality. Can a stifling atmosphere of Chinese Chekhov give way to spring? Alcohol at a birthday party speeds resolution.Written by
I usually don't dig Chinese movies. As far as asian cinema is concerned, I am more a Japanese or Korean fan. But this Springtime is bliss. Just about everything is beautiful, from script to cinematography to acting (with the notable exception of the girl who plays the young sister, whom I thought was over-acting).
One thing I thought was interesting is the way director Tian expressed his intention of editing from the original version of the movie (shot in the '50s) all the elements that would not appeal to a viewer today. Therefore, we must assume that pre-arranged weddings are still a common fact in today's China. What about love ?
Well, enough for the pseudo-sociological analysis. On a more pleasure-oriented level, this is a jewel. Not a perfect movie, granted, I couldn't rate it more than the 8 I gave it, but such a nice little piece of work. Colors, sounds, camera movements, actor's play, everything is fluid, warm, inhabited. A very nice springtime in a small town indeed...
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