Spring in a Small Town

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by the BFI and the films on them.

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antnield
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2005 1:59 pm
Location: Cheltenham, England

Spring in a Small Town

#1 Post by antnield » Mon Nov 03, 2014 4:53 pm

SPRING IN A SMALL TOWN (DVD)
A film by Fei Mu

Regarded as the finest work from the first great era of Chinese filmmaking, Fei Mu's piercingly poignant study of adulterous desire and guilt-ridden despair new restored by the China Film Archive 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 does little except deliver his daily medication. A surprise visit from Liyan's friend Zhang re-energises the household, the invalid included. Liyan's young sister is not alone in her excitement over the much-travelled guest; Yuwen knew him before her marriage...

In 2005 Spring in a Small Town was declared No.1 in the Best 100 Chinese Motion Pictures. A re-make as Springtime in a Small Town by Tian Zhuangzhuang was released in 2002, but this is the first time that the original has been available on DVD in the UK.

Special features
- Rare Chinese shorts from the BFI National Archive
- Fully illustrated booklet with complete film credits
January 19th, 2015

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EddieLarkin
Joined: Sat Sep 08, 2012 10:25 am

Re: Spring in a Small Town

#2 Post by EddieLarkin » Mon Nov 03, 2014 5:14 pm

Bummed that this is DVD only, but I trust the BFI would put it out on BD if the source was good enough, since the The Battles of Coronel and Falkland Islands is getting a Blu-ray.

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htdm
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 3:46 am

Re: Spring in a Small Town

#3 Post by htdm » Mon Nov 03, 2014 6:29 pm

Am curious to see what the rare Chinese shorts will be

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htdm
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 2004 3:46 am

Re: Spring in a Small Town

#4 Post by htdm » Sun Dec 07, 2014 12:23 am

To answer my own question:
A Small Town in China (1933, 9 mins): an intimate portrait of community life in an unidentified Chinese town
China (Paul Rotha, 1942, 15 mins): a documentary introducing 1940s China to Western viewers and denouncing its Japanese invaders
This is China (1946, 9 mins): a fascinating compilation of scenes showing diversity and disparity in 1940s China

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L.A.
Joined: Thu May 28, 2009 7:33 am
Location: Helsinki, Finland

Re: Spring in a Small Town

#5 Post by L.A. » Wed Jan 28, 2015 9:50 am


Jonathan S
Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2008 3:31 am
Location: Somerset, England

Re: Spring in a Small Town

#6 Post by Jonathan S » Wed Jul 01, 2015 4:30 am

Judging from the recent Film4 broadcast, the audio "restoration" of this film (by the China Film Archive, according to Beaver) is one of the crassest I've ever heard. No doubt the surviving elements were very challenging, but I found the artificial reverberance applied to the soundtrack hugely distracting and I eventually had to watch with the sound almost muted. In particular, the heroine's intimate voice-over narration now sounds like it has been processed through the public address system in a cavernous railway station, leading me to expect the imminent departure of the Shanghai Express!

Beaver charitably mentions "a bit of echo... nothing that deterred my viewing" but for me it's a complete dealbreaker - unless the DVD offers an unrestored soundtrack option? Perhaps it would be less obvious when projected in large public theatre. But I even prefer the audio, warts and all, on the admittedly terrible Cinema Epoch DVD. Of course, this crude, "echo chamber" effect has often been applied to old music recordings - either to combat a dry acoustic or remove hiss and crackle - with similarly unpleasant results.

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MichaelB
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Re: Spring in a Small Town

#7 Post by MichaelB » Wed Jul 01, 2015 5:35 am

This is one of the many, many reasons why the BFI decided not to put it out on Blu-ray.

Jonathan S
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Location: Somerset, England

Re: Spring in a Small Town

#8 Post by Jonathan S » Wed Jul 01, 2015 5:56 am

MichaelB wrote:This is one of the many, many reasons why the BFI decided not to put it out on Blu-ray.
Yes, I have quite a few doubts and suspicions about the image restoration too, but - having only seen it via Film4, and with only the Cinema Epoch DVD to compare - I can't be sure they aren't caused or exacerbated by the broadcast. In any event, they bothered me much less than the hollow audio.

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whaleallright
Joined: Sun Sep 25, 2005 12:56 am

Re: Spring in a Small Town

#9 Post by whaleallright » Wed Jul 01, 2015 3:11 pm

someone ought to combine the improved pictured quality of the BFI with the soundtrack from one of the "non-restored" releases (which if I'm not mistaken actually come from a 1980s restoration)--if they could be easily synched, something I'm not sure about.

I imagine that the BFI (and nearly anyone else who wants to release pre-PRC Chinese cinema on home video) is beholden to whatever masters the China Film Archives puts together, and the latter aren't exactly known for being on the cutting edge of restoration practices.

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domino harvey
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Re: Spring in a Small Town

#10 Post by domino harvey » Sun Jan 17, 2016 12:31 pm

This DVD literally has the worst audio of any professional DVD release I've ever heard. 99% of public domain bootlegs sound better than this. I am often skeptical when the home theatre crew gets their claws out about technical problems, but holy shit, this is so much worse than you could imagine. "A bit of echo" =/= computer speakers circa 1994 blaring Jock Jams

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