Director: MU FEI

93 minutes, China, 1948, Black and White, D-Cinema


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Widely regarded as the best Chinese film ever made and now newly restored, Spring in a Small Town is set in the aftermath of the Sino-Japanese War (1937 – ‘45) and tells the story of the once prosperous Dai family. The patriarch Liyan (Shi Yu) is a shadow of his former self, an invalid who spends his days lost in nostalgia. His marriage to the beautiful Yuwen (Wei Wei) has become little more than a passionless duty of care on her part. Meanwhile Liyan’s teenage sister Xiu (Zhang Hongmei), too young to remember the past, plays cheerfully in the rubble of their home.

Across the broken town wall and into their world comes Liyan’s childhood friend Zhang (Li Wei), an adventurous doctor from Shanghai and an old flame of Yuwen. In the ensuing love triangle Yuwen finds herself torn between the two men, while Xiu has her own ideas about the future. (Notes by BFI.)

★★★★★ The Irish Times, ★★★★★ The Guardian

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