6.9/10
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Springtime in a Small Town (2002)

Xiao cheng zhi chun (original title)
Trailer
2:17 | Trailer
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.

Director:

Zhuangzhuang Tian

Writers:

Cheng Ah, Mu Fei | 1 more credit »
4 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview:
Jingfan Hu Jingfan Hu ... Yuwen
Jun Wu Jun Wu ... Dai Liyan
Bai Qing Xin Bai Qing Xin ... Zhang Zhichen
Xiao Keng Ye Xiao Keng Ye ... Lao Huang
Si Si Lu Si Si Lu ... Dai Xiu
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Storyline

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 <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for some thematic elements | See all certifications »
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Details

Language:

Mandarin

Release Date:

11 December 2003 (Netherlands) See more »

Also Known As:

Springtime in a Small Town See more »

Filming Locations:

Wu Zhen, Zhejiang, China

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$7,506, 16 May 2004

Gross USA:

$43,017

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$57,751
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Cinema) |

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Connections

Remake of Spring in a Small Town (1948) See more »

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User Reviews

Watch for the sparkling 'drinking' scene
13 September 2004 | by harry_tk_yungSee all my reviews

Spoilers

An alternative title of this film could have been the one for a recent local play in town: 'Tiny ripples in still waters' (as literally translated. 'Still waters' obviously have nothing to do with the fictitious rock band featured in 'Almost Famous'. It just means a dead pool).

This film reminds me immediately of the Italian gem Facing Windows I saw recently in Toronto, for which my comments started out thus: 'The ripple-in-a-mundane-life type of story is difficult to handle'. Both films deal with a stagnant marriage, and the ripple created by the intrusion of a man. The circumstances are however different, but I am not going to start comparing and contrasting the two. For Springtime, the main cause of the marital problem is the husband's (Liyan) lingering ailment. His home-coming childhood friend (Zeichen) turns out to be also the wife's (Yuwen) teen sweetheart. The only two other characters are Liyan's little sister, just turning 16, and a faithful old manservant.

The pace is slow but the film is absorbingly mesmerising. Behind the deceptively simple dialogue is an undercurrent of ebbs and flows of emotions, particularly in the case of Hu Jingfan playing Yuwen. (Look beyond the surface of the words she speaks into the subtly varying tone, the nuances, and the ever so slight shift in the timbre of her voice). Masterly use of a slowly panning camera creates the melancholy mood sustaining the intriguing lure of the film.

Particularly worth mentioning is the brilliant climax of the 'drinking' scene. I won't spoil it with inapt descriptions. If Hu Jingfu's performance has been subtle hitherto, it's sparkling in that scene.

Film critics in town who have seen the original 1948 version claim that it is even better. Hope to get a chance to see it. In any event, this re-make is well worth recommending to those who have the capacity to appreciate.

* * * *

Update - March 2005.

Have now seen the original, which certainly lives up to its reputation, but can't agree with the verdict that the remake is inferior.


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