Lisa Schwarzbaum
May 12, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Springtime in a Small Town (Movie - 2004)

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
Unrated
runtime
116 minutes
Wide Release Date
05/28/04
performer
Hu Jingfan, Wu Jun, Si Si Lu
director
Tian Zhuangzhuang
distributor
Palm Pictures
author
Cheng Ah, Tianji Li
genre
Drama, Foreign Language

We gave it a B+

In remaking Springtime in a Small Town, about a young wife unnerved to discover that her invalid husband’s visiting childhood friend is her first love, Tian Zhuangzhuang gently reinterprets Fei Mu’s lyrical 1948 drama of emotional entanglement and metaphorical political change, shaping the story for contemporary tastes. In his first production since 1993’s ”The Blue Kite,” Tian switches from the original POV of the woman to that of a neutral observer. And in so doing, the filmmaker ditches political nuance in favor of the universally understandable emotions of sexual rivalry. There’s a painterly translucence to this ”Springtime,” and a mystery, too; each frame is as delicately poised and lit as a Vermeer portrait of a woman, beckoning but unknowable.

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