BBFC RatingBFF '19: Spring in a Small Town

GenreDrama, Romance
DirectorFei Mu
Running Time1HR 38MINS
Extra InfoSubtitled
SeasonBelfast Film Festival 2019

Regarded as the finest work from the first great era of Chinese filmmaking, Fei Mu’s quiet, piercingly poignant study of adulterous desire and guilt-ridden despair – now restored – is a remarkable rediscovery.

After eight years of marriage to Liyan – once rich but now sickly and almost suicidally apathetic following a long, ruinous war – Yuwen feels so drained that she too does little except mutely deliver his daily medication. Suddenly, a surprise visit from Liyan’s doctor friend Zhang re-energises the household, the invalid included.

His teenage sister is not alone in her excitement over the much-travelled guest; Yuwen knew him before her marriage… Eliciting a superb performance from Wei Wei as Yuwen, whose pained voiceover offers insights into her conflicted feelings, Fei creates a tense, sensual chamberwork steeped in suspicion and suppressed longing, deep resentments and half-spoken truths.

The metaphorical use of objects and locations, the telling camera movements and frequent dissolves make for a fraught, febrile mood of hesitant passion, entrapment.

Belfast Film Festival films will not feature ads or trailers and will, therefore, start at the advertised time.