Movie Review by Neils Hesse
Starring: Wu Jun, Xin Bai Qing, Hu Jing Fan, Ye Xiao Keng, Lu Si Si
Director: Tian Zhuangzhuang
Lost love and withheld compassion are all beautifully moulded into a fine visual and emotional feast in SPRINGTIME IN A SMALL TOWN. Set in China in the 1950s, Yumen (Hu Jing Fan) is living in a small town that has been badly damaged by Japanese bombs. She is married to a sickly but still young man Liyan (Wu Jun). Their marriage is more dutiful than compassionate, as they have lived in separate rooms for years. Then unexpectedly Zhichen (Xin Bai Qing), an old high school friend of Liyan’s, decides to pay them a visit and is invited to stay with them.
Ultimately though Zhichen stirs up the whole scenario as he begins to intrude on their marriage. It turns out that Zhichen is an old friend of Yumen’s as well, having known her quite well before she knew Liyan. Consequently emotions that have lain dormant for years between all three of them are pushed and tested to the limit, with damaging consequences.
Performances from the ensemble cast are excellent across the board especially Hu Jing Fan, who portrays the central female character with great emotion and yet great passiveness. Tian Zhuangzhuang expertly directs the film so it glides along at a steady pace in unison with the unfolding story. The outstanding cinematography perfectly complements the mood of the movie.
This is definitely a good mature love story.