Image source: Wikimedia Foundation (
Download Movie [Video Format: MP4]
Movie Source: Internet Archive (

Spring in a Small Town (小城之春)


Seen by many as the greatest Chinese film ever, Spring in a Small Town is different from other films of the era. In a time when most films were colored by the politics of the time, Spring in a Small Town is a story of a woman with a love dilemma. Subtitles:

Spring in a Small Town () is a Chinese film released in 1948 in film and directed by Fei Mu. The film was based on a short story by Li Tianji (), and was produced by the Wenhua Film Company.
Though its reputation suffered after 1949 in mainland China after the Communist revolution, within the last 20 years it had become known as one of the greatest Chinese films ever made.<></>< name=BAMPFA/> The original negative of the film is kept at the China Film Archive.< name=BAMPFA></><></>


Taking place in a ruined family compound after the Second Sino-Japanese War, the film tells the story of the once prosperous Dai family. The husband and patriarch, Dai Liyan (Shi Yu) is an invalid, and spends his days in the courtyard nostalgic for the past. His marriage to Zhou Yuwen (Wei Wei (actress)) has long been rendered loveless, though both still feel concern for the other. Liyan's young teenage sister Dai Xiu (Zhang Hongmei), meanwhile, is too young to remember the past, and stays cheerful and playful in the ruins of her home.
Into this dreary but unchanging existence comes Liyan's childhood friend Zhang Zhichen (Li Wei (actor)), a doctor from Shanghai and a former flame of Zhou Yuwen before she ever met her husband. The rest of the film details Zhou Yuwen's conflicting emotions between her love for Zhang, and her loyalty to her husband and his family.


  • Wei Wei (actress) (韋偉) as Zhou Yuwen (周玉紋 Zhōu Yùwén), the heroine;
  • Shi Yu (石羽) as Dai Liyan (戴禮言 Dài Lǐyán), her husband;
  • Li Wei (actor) as Zhang Zhichen (章志忱 Zhāng Zhìchén), Dai Liyan's childhood friend and Yuwen's former lover
  • Cui Chaoming as Lao Huang (老黃 lǎo Huáng), Dai and Yuwen's loyal servant;
  • Zhang Hongmei as Dai Xiu (戴秀 Dài Xiù), Dai Liyan's young sister.


Made after the war and the so-called "Solitary Island" period of Shanghai film-making, Spring in a Small Town, unlike its leftist predecessors of the 1930s, was a more intimate affair with only tangential erences to the politics of the day. Indeed, the film can be distinguished from those earlier works by its more mature treatment of inter-personal conflicts, particularly in the sense that there are no villains or antagonists except for time and circumstance. Even the husband, who ostensibly stands between Zhou Yuwen and Zhang Zhichen's love, is an inherently decent and good human being.
Because of this apparent lack of "political" grounding, Spring in a Small Town was rejected by the Communist Party of China as rightist or reactionary, and was ignored following the Chinese Civil War in China in 1949.</> In 2002, the film was remade by Tian Zhuangzhuang as Springtime in a Small Town].

DVD releases

Spring in a Small Town was released on

Category:Chinese films
Category:1948 films
Category:Black-and-white films
Category:Mandarin-language films
Category:1940s romantic drama films
Category:Films directed by Fei Mu
Made in mainland China in 1948, copyright expired in 1998.

More Public Domain Movies