A masterpiece amazingly ahead of its time, this quietly erotic, melancholic drama observes the tensions between a married woman and her ex-lover. Set in a secluded, run-down house, the film is a psychological exploration of the female protagonist Zhou Yuwen and her intricate relationships with her sickly husband, Dai Liyan, and her former lover, Zhang Zhichen, a doctor who unexpectedly comes for a visit. Communist historiography censured the film for its petit-bourgeois “decadence,” its ideological “backwardness” and its alleged “narcotic effect” on the audience at a time of war. Since the 1980s, however, it has been critically acclaimed as the best Chinese film of all time and a classic example of “Eastern” cinema. —Film Society of Lincoln Center
Born in Shanghai, China, Fei Mu is considered by many to be one of the major film directors prior to the Communist takeover in 1949. Known for his artistic style and costume dramas, Fei made his first film, 1933’s Night in the City (produced by the Lianhua Film Company), at the young age of 27, and he was met with both critical and popular acclaim (the film, unfortunately, is now lost). Continuing to make films with Lianhua, Fei directed films throughout the 1930s and became a major talent in the industry, with films like 1936’s Blood on Wolf Mountain (often seen as an allegory on the war with Japan) and 1935’s Song of China, a glorification of traditional values that was part of the New Life Movement. Later, Song of China became one of the few films that had a limited release in the United States.
Fei’s legacy as one of China’s greatest directors was sealed with his 1948 influential masterpiece Spring in a Small Town about a love triangle in post-war China (it was later remade… read more
Long suppressed by the Communist regime which came to power in China the year after its release, this beautiful film is now considered to be one of the classics of Chinese cinema. The lovely lyrical direction by Fei Mu shows excellent technique, especially his use of a delicately gliding camera which reminded me of Mizoguchi at his best. The love triangle story avoids any unnecessary melodrama and is subtly handled..
This is definitely one of those select few films where just about 5 or so minutes into it I was in love with the film, which only increased as it progressed. Felt like witnessing poetry in film form. Really deserves all the acclaim it gets.
in the three short years between the end of Japanese occupation and the birth of the PRC, we see, in Chinese cinema, various efforts to make sense of the past and prepare for an uncertain future. one… read review