Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Spring in a Small Town

Mu Fei, China, 1948, bw (8.2*)
Spring is a gentle story of another era in Chinese films, one just after the war, in a world where this war reach out and touched even the lives of simple country people like the central character, Yuwen, movingly portrayed by Wei Wei, who is isolated in a small town, and in an arranged marriage with an ill husband, Liyan (Wu Shi).

The story revolves around memories: of love, and a period of promise, now being stirred to life again by the sudden visit of the husband's long estranged friend Zhang (Wei Li), who is now a city doctor, also a former beau of Yuwen. Zhang brings life back to the stagnant estate of Liyan, and renewed love and passion to Yuwen.

Complicating the story are the doctor's scruples and detachment, her husband's illness and depression, and his young sister's (Chaoming Cui) budding relationship with Zhang. Something subtle is happening and it's nothing as superficial as a straightforward romantic affair for anyone at the estate.

Spring is one of the most beautiful of all Chinese films because the beauty and love are just hints than actual expressions, as we'd find in films today. The world has been forever changed by war, and is coming out of it's winter, into a natural rebith of its own, mirrored by the natural spring all around. Liyan's younger sister provides the human metaphor for this natural springtime, one of renewal, spontaniety, and a natural reception to life and growth.


Anonymous,  February 21, 2012 at 6:42 AM  

this film is a classic and has been remade by Tian Zhuangzhuang some years ago I recommend it to all who are interested in Chinese Films

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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.

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