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Customer reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
7
Format: DVD|Change
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Showing 1-4 of 4 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 7 reviews
on May 13, 2007
I am writing this from the perspective of a Westerner who has no knowledge of the Chinese language and has been to China only once (although rather recently).

"Spring in a Small Town" is, for the most part, subtly acted, written, and directed and is not afraid to use symbolism when appropriate. Because it uses a limited number of interior sets for most of the story, it gave me the feeling I was watching a stage play that had been expanded for the screen. Although I found the story to be engaging, I sometimes felt as though I was watching an Ingmar Bergman film (which is not bad). Indeed, the production owes much more to the influences of European filmmakers than to Hollywood, and there is a sort of Scandivavian languor in the way the story is told and developed.

On the negative side, the print is mediocre and the soundtrack, which seems to disappear in a few places, often contains a hum. The English subtitles, which frequently race by so quickly that they can be only partially read, are often, obviously, incorrectly translated. (One of many examples of this is when Zhou Yuwen tells her husband to, "Go back to bed", when he is already in bed. I suspect the correct translation should have been, "Go back to sleep.") There is no music on the soundtrack until the last minute or two when it suddenly comes out of the blue with a somewhat disconcerting effect.

With this said, this is probably the best print that is available for this movie, and if you have any interest in the history of Asian/Chinese film or culture, this is certainly a film to see. Too bad such films do not have access to the financial resources to be properly restored. (Where is the George Eastman House when you need them?)

As for it being "The Greatest Chinese Film Ever Made"? I couldn't tell you since I haven't seen that many Chinese films. But, to be honest, I hope it isn't . . .
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on August 13, 2007
In a run-down town, with ruins for houses and a broken down wall for protection, live a family. The husband, Dai Liyan is sick all the time and his wife, Zhou Yuwen, spends most of her time taking care of him. When an old friend of the husband, Zhang Zhichen, shows up it turns he happens to be an old friend of the wife also. A good friend. In fact they use to be lovers. So now the stage is set. But there is more. The little sister of the husband kind of has a crush on Zhang Zhichen and Liyan thinks they would make a good marriage. As things go from bad to worse the simple story becomes more complex as everybody seems to slowly figure out what is happening. In the end even Liyan feels that his wife and friend would be better off together. Being made in 1948 it does make you wonder what the message of the movie is. After all, this is a product of a China recovering from World War Two yet still in the chaos of infighting, right before it became Red China. Maybe there is no message?
The film is only 90 minutes long and is not in the best condition. There is an essay on the DVD as an extra but nothing else.
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on January 14, 2014
I guess you can appreciate the film by just watching it without the dialogue, but there are no English subtitles on this "All Regions" edition (Guangzhou Beauty Culture Communication Co.Ltd) -- I'd save your money and buy a different version unless you know Chinese.
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on November 24, 2012
The DVD I received was in Chinese with Chinese subtitles-- not much use to an English speaker. At the main menu I was given three chouces (in Chinese): the first proved to be "play the movie," and the second "chapters." I thought the third might be subtitles, but when I chose it, it just sent me back to the main menu. Disappointed. I was looking forward to seeing it.
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