Springtime in a Small Town (Xiao cheng zhi chun) Reviews

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Film4
May 27, 2011
The lead characters smoulder without ever catching aflame, while director Tian Zhuangzhaung weaves a disturbing web of deceit and betrayal.
Urban Cinefile Critics
Urban Cinefile
October 18, 2008
As vibrant as a live play in its impact, with its characters almost as tangible, this film draws on not just the words and emotions of the original material, but the classic language of earlier cinema.

Empire Magazine
December 30, 2006
Beautifully photographed by Mark Lee (who also co-shot Wong Kar-Wai's In The Mood For Love), and delicately played by an untried cast, this confirms Tian as the Fifth Generation's unsung master.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Derek Adams
Time Out
June 24, 2006
The result is paradoxically more theatrical than the original -- but thanks to serene cinematography and superb design, sumptuously so.
Dennis Schwartz
Ozus' World Movie Reviews
June 22, 2005
If you can go with the film's leisurely flow and accept the restraints it holds its lovers in check with, it can be a spellbinding film experience.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Jeffrey M. Anderson
Combustible Celluloid
January 15, 2005
Tian guides his story with great smoothness, providing a hint of unease with his constantly gliding camera and his penchant for viewing the action from behind grated windows and other obstacles.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
G. Allen Johnson
San Francisco Chronicle
December 3, 2004
Only a director who truly knows repression could have made a movie so subtle and so understanding.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Jules Brenner
Cinema Signals
November 23, 2004
Crafted in a style that seems to be learned from films of the thirties and, for all its scope, might have been adapted from a stage play.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
Gabe Leibowitz
Film and Felt
November 4, 2004
Even potentially crushing situations are diffused by the respect each character has for one another.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Robert W. Butler
Kansas City Star
September 30, 2004
There aren't a lot of plot complications in Springtime, a remake of a celebrated 1948 Chinese film of the same name. It's the way Tian tells his story that impresses.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Robin Clifford
Reeling Reviews
August 31, 2004
[Springtime in a Small Town is] a quiet, thoughtful and beautifully wrought film.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Top Critic

Orlando Sentinel
August 6, 2004
Springtime in a Small Town moves at a leisurely pace. And because it's a work of taste and tact, you can watch it in a pleasurable state.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Steve Schneider
Orlando Weekly
August 5, 2004
The drama can seem tepid from a contemporary Western perspective. But there's usually a tasty morsel of cinematography or performance just around the corner.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
Top Critic
Jonathan Rosenbaum
Chicago Reader
July 10, 2004
Reinventing his source just as boldly as he has reinvented his artistic identity, Tian circumvents the usual mentality of remakes by making his material brand-new.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4

E! Online
June 4, 2004
It's heartbreak without the hysterics, and it's as beautiful as a still-life painting which makes you cry without you even understanding why.
Full Review | Original Score: A
Andy Klein
Los Angeles CityBeat
May 29, 2004
What makes [it] so effective is Tian's very carefully wrought visual style and the performances of his tiny cast.
Glenn Whipp
Los Angeles Daily News
May 28, 2004
Haunting film.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Manohla Dargis
Los Angeles Times
May 27, 2004
This isn't a radical film by any means, but in its gentle tempo, its avoidance of the obvious and stubborn insistence on the decency of its three touchingly human characters, 'Springtime in a Small Town' weighs in as refreshingly, pleasurably different.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Scott Foundas
L.A. Weekly
May 26, 2004
A movie that drifts across the screen with the delicacy of linen floating on a warm breeze, whose slow, sensual camera movements are like tiptoes on rice paper, yet which can sting us with the suddenness of a bee concealed in clover.
Wade Major
Boxoffice Magazine
May 23, 2004
After more than a decade in artistic exile, China's Tian Zhuangzhuang has resurfaced with a veritable vengeance, delivering what may well be the crowning achievement of his storied, turbulent career.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
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