Following the BFI’s 2015 release of Spring in a Small Town (Fei Mu, 1948) comes another new restoration by the China Film Archive. The Spring River Flows East [Yi jiang chun shui xiang dong liu], directed by Cai Chusheng and Zheng Junli, will be released on DVD in February.
Often cited as one of the masterpieces of Chinese cinema, The Spring River Flows East, made in 1947, is an epic and tragic melodrama set in Shanghai and Chungking around the time of the Second Sino-Japanese War.
A film in two parts, part one, Eight War-Torn Years, tells the heart-rending story of a working-class couple, Sufen (Bai Yang), and Zhang Zhongliang (Tao Jin), whose marriage is torn apart when the war forces Zhongliang to flee from Shanghai to Chungking. Part two, The Dawn, sees Zhongliang return to Shanghai. His fortunes transformed, he has married into a wealthy bourgeois family, but his world is undone by a chance meeting with the now-destitute Sufen.
Newly restored by the China Film Archive, The Spring River Flows East will be released on DVD by the BFI on 20 February 2017 – the first time the film has ever been released in the UK – at the RRP of £19.99.
- A Stilted City. Chungking. China (1930, 1 min): a rare glimpse of the ancient city which sits on the banks of the Yangtze river