Spring in a Small Town

  • Film
  • Drama
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This 1948 melodrama topped a poll of the best Chinese films ever made, but has rarely been seen. Shot during a brief window between the end of the Sino-Japanese war in 1945 and the Communist Party tightening its grip on film production, ‘Spring in a Small Town’ is a remarkably sophisticated achievement. Actress Wei Wei is extraordinary as a woman who’s settled for what looks like a loveless marriage to a suicidal local landowner. Then she must endure the delicious torment of a surprise visit from her long-lost lover – her husband’s old friend. The story will be familiar if you caught Tian Zhuangzhuang’s brooding 2002 remake, but this is even more potent. Shaped around Wei Wei’s yearning voiceover, it’s a chaste, yet erotically charged tale of longing, regret and potential transgression. Up there with the best of Max Ophüls and Mizoguchi, here’s a ‘rediscovered classic’ which genuinely lives up to the billing.

Release details

Rated: U
Release date: Friday June 20 2014
Duration: 98 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Fei Mu
Cast: Wei Wei
Shi Yu
Li Wei
Zhang Hongmei
Cui Chaoming
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