Spring in a Small Town (1948)



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Movie Info

The tone of this 1948 romantic drama, Xiao Cheng zhi Chun, is set by the very title itself. By using the classical "zhi" (pronounced "jr") to indicate that this spring "belongs" to the small town, director Fei Mu exchanges the normal colloquial language for the literary. The heroine Wei Wei (Zhou Yuwen) is married to a VIP landowner who seems to be suffering from severe depression. World War II has just ended and no one would fault him for his morose temperament. But when a charming doctor comes to visit the family, Wei Wei is thrown into turmoil. She was in love with this doctor before marrying her husband and now he clearly wants her back. Torn between her real love and her duty to her husband, Wei Wei's dilemma is heightened when her spouse takes a turn for the worse and the doctor has to try to save him.


Chaoming Cui
as Lao Huang
Zhou Yuwen
as Wei Wei
Li Wei
as Zhang Zhi Chen
Wei Li
as Zhou Yuwen
Yu Shi
as Dai Li Yan

Critic Reviews for Spring in a Small Town

All Critics (13) | Top Critics (2)

Spring is revelatory in a number of ways -- not least in demonstrating how Tian exquisitely refracted a stark contemporary drama through the prism of a double nostalgia.

Jan 29, 2014 | Full Review…

The crowning achievement of one of China's finest directors, this unique film both reflects and dissects the mood of helpless impotence which afflicted many Chinese in the years after the war.

Jan 29, 2014 | Full Review…
Time Out
Top Critic

The film's emotional complexity lends it a weight that has sustained its influence over the decades.

Feb 18, 2015 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

For its concentration of haunting emotion and sheer subtlety of texture, Spring in a Small Town is a masterpiece.

Jan 14, 2015 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

The unadorned, pre-institutional storytelling makes for a far more compelling viewing than Tian Zhuangzhuang's 2002 glossy remake.

Jun 23, 2014 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

Full of subtle erotic tension, the 1948 drama focuses close up on Yuwen (Wei Wei), a frustrated, exquisitely beautiful housewife whose husband Liyan (Shi Yu) is invalided by tuberculosis and the traumatic effects of the Sino-Japanese war.

Jun 20, 2014 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

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