Tuesday, November 17, 2009

#427: Spring in a Small Town (1948)

(Original Title: Xiao Cheng Zhi Chun)
Director: Mu Fei
Cast: Wei Wei, Yu Shi, Wei Li, Hongmei Zhang & Chaoming Cui

Surprise! No trailer found, but you can watch the full film for free! Sorry, embedding doesn't seem to work. But! Free movie!

Soon after WWII, Yuwen finds herself living unhappily with her ill husband Liyan. Also living at their formerly exquisite house are Liyan's sister known simply as Meimei (Mandarin for 'little sister') and their servant, Lao Huang. Yuwen gets a shock one day when her old sweetheart named Zhichen arrives to visit Liyan, Zhichen's old schoolmate, a fact that Yuwen never knew. She soon realizes that she is still in love with Zhichen, while Liyan hopes for Yuwen to play matchmaker for Zhichen and Meimei.

This film was originally released just a year before the Communist Revolution. Before the film could make a name for itself, the Communists banned the film for being counter-revolutionary, and it was doomed to be lost forever. Luckily, the '80s brought a renaissance of Chinese cinema, leading to the film's rediscovery. Since then, Spring in a Small Town has been hailed as the greatest Chinese film of all time.

I'm not gonna lie, I don't see the big deal about this film. Yes, it demonstrates a feeling of a world lost to a joyless post-war depression, but there doesn't seem to be much in style or content that stood out to me at all. And to be completely honest, the audio quality completely ticked me off. Every time the narration comes in, you can hear the microphone turn on by the initiation of scratchy annoyance.

I read a fellow film blogger's analysis of this, and he completely adored it. I wouldn't mind if somebody could convince me to see this film in a better light. Because right now, I'd take Crouching Tiger over this for Best Chinese Film Ever any day.

Fun Trivia (Stolen from IMDB):
  • Voted the best Chinese-language film of all time by the Hong Kong Film Academy in 2004.
  • Voted the best Chinese-language film of all time by the Hong Kong Film Critics Society in 2002.

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