b. 10 October, 1906, Shanghai
d. 31 January, 1951, Hong Kong

Fei Mu was a director whose life coincided with huge upheavals in the history of China. A man of deep intellect and a love of his country, he was simultaneously classical in his film language, while making numerous innovations in Chinese cinema. He would endure untold difficulties in his career only to die as a refugee at the age of 44. Denounced and forgotten after his death, his films were finally rediscovered in the 1980s when they went on to influence many generations of Chinese filmmakers. Sadly neglected in the West, Fei Mu is among the more important directors in film history, especially in East Asia. The best known of his films, Spring in a Small Town (1948), is even considered by many as the greatest Chinese film of all time.

Born on October 10, 1906 in Shanghai, Fei Mu was the eldest of four siblings. He was close with his mother, an intelligent and well-read woman, who acted with traditional respect towards Fei’s father, while still being the decision-maker of the family.1 Fei was also well-loved by his grandfather, a famous practitioner of traditional Chinese medicine, and Fei himself would develop a solid understanding of TCM, which would be reflected, for instance, in the doctor character of his most famous film.2 The family was scholarly, giving Fei understanding of traditional Chinese culture and arts from a young age. Highly proficient in languages, he became fluent in English, French, German, Italian and Russian.3  This would also give him an interest in Western arts, such as literature, theatre and film, all of which would go on to influence his future works.4  Fei was a voracious reader, so much so that his habit of reading late into the night led to him going blind in his left eye.5  He was also said to have watched more than a thousand films, both Chinese and Western.6  The family’s Confucian beliefs would go on to have a huge influence on Fei’s thought, even though Fei disagreed with many of the more outdated ideas of the religion, such as preference of sons over daughters. To him, the most important part of Confucianism was the morality and ethics that showed how to live in an imperfect world.7

Fei studied in a French language school, first in Shanghai and then in Beijing, moving around until the age of ten. While in school, Fei found friends who were similarly obsessed with cinema. With two of them, Zhu Shilin and He Mengfu, who would also go on to become directors, he started a film magazine called Haolaiwu (Hollywood) .8 Fei’s schooling coincided with the New Culture Movement that was sweeping China’s universities. The movement questioned many of China’s old traditions and beliefs, especially Confucianism. It would go on to sow the seeds of China’s tumultuous future and the founding of the Communist Party of China. The New Culture Movement didn’t have a direct influence on Fei’s life. In many ways he seemed to live opposite to its beliefs, yet shades of the movement’s impact can be found in his movies – for instance, Spring in a Small Town’s conflict between tradition and new ways of living.

After graduation, Fei Mu agreed to his family’s wishes and began working a respectable job as an accountant for a mining company in Hebei Province  9 (some sources say Jiangsu Province10 ). Even as an accountant Fei would continue his cinephilic tendencies, watching silent movies at home via a hand-held projector. He also continued writing film criticism for different magazines.11

At a time when many youths went against old traditions, Fei honoured his family’s request and agreed to an arranged marriage. At the age of 20 in 1926, he married Wu Mei without even meeting her first. She was a shy and beautiful woman, and Fei quickly fell in love with his bride. By all accounts, they had a happy, if reserved, marriage .12 The couple would have one child, Barbara Fei, born in 1931, who would go on to become a famous soprano opera singer in Hong Kong.

In 1930, Fei Mu finally decided to follow his true passion and entered the film business. His parents were deeply unhappy with their son’s decision. Respecting tradition, Fei sought their permission for the change, but his father was a headstrong man and wouldn’t agree to his request. Fei’s mother didn’t take to the idea either, but when she saw how determined her son was, she agreed to help him change his father’s mind. Later, when she saw what a success her son was as a director, his mother became a huge supporter of Fei’s work.13

Talking to his daughter, many years in the future, Fei spoke of the disagreement with his parents and the events later in his career somewhat melancholically:

“At that time my parents – your grandparents – quarrelled with me all the time because I wanted to enter the film industry. They were mad at me. But I have never regretted my decision. I loved my job, worked hard to achieve my goals without complaints. Some critics said that my films were not easily accepted by people and that they attracted a lot of cheers but not a big audience.[…] I don’t mind. I have never produced a film for the purpose of winning acclaim… None of these was a big deal. Nevertheless, I felt very lonely sometimes. The problem is how many people actually could understand my feeling?”14

Fei began working as a chief editor for the information department of North China Film Company. His job entailed translating subtitles and writing synopses for films .15 In 1932, he was offered a job with the Lianhua Film Company and he moved back to his hometown of Shanghai. At Lianhua, Fei first worked as an assistant for the pioneering director Hou Yao. Hou Yao was responsible for writing China’s first film theory book Techniques of Writing Shadowplay Scripts in 1925. He was an advocate of dramatic, highly structural films, where “script is the soul of the film” and where “no struggle, no drama” was something to be avoided.16  Fei Mu, on the other hand, would be in direct opposition of his mentor, with his reserved plots and relaxed storytelling. Hou Yao would be murdered by the Japanese in 1942 in the Sook Ching Massacre.17

Fei Mu’s first film Night in the City (城市之夜, 1933), starring legendary Ruan Lingyu, sadly has no surviving prints

After being mentored by Hou Yao, 27-year-old Fei Mu was ready to become a director himself. His first film Night in the City (1933, also known as City Nights) astonished the critics and the film was a hit with audiences. A story of a poor father and his daughter, who is forced to prostitute herself to a greedy landlord’s son, Night in the City reflects the leftist values that were on the rise in China during the time of its production. Though, foreshadowing the problems that would arise later in Fei’s career, some left-wing film critics were annoyed by the film’s ending which shows the poor and the capitalists living in harmony.18

Night in the City’s lead was the legendary actress Ruan Lingyu, who at the time was one of the biggest stars in China. Ruan would go on to star in Fei’s follow up films, Sea of Fragrant Snow (1934) and Life (1934), before tragically ending her life in 1935 at the age of 24. Her suicide is often blamed on the intense pressure from the tabloids that followed from her complex personal life. Eulogising her, the director raged: “It is the feudal residual in our society that killed Ms Ruan.”19  Sadly, none of their collaborations survive to this day, as the prints would be destroyed in the upcoming Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945) – a destiny that would befall many of the films made in the period.

Song of China (天倫, 1935)

Fei’s next movie, Song of China (1935, also known as Filial Piety) co-directed with Luo Mingyou, is his first to survive to modern day. A story of several generations of a family and the expectations parents have for their children, the film, with its traditional family values, was a part of Chiang Kai-shek’s anti-communist New Life Movement, which tried to promote traditional Confucian social values.20  One of the stars of the film, Zheng Junli, would go on to become one of China’s most respected directors of the period and later be persecuted during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) and die in prison in 1969. Song of China is also notable for being the first Chinese film to be marketed to American audiences without Chinese roots.21  The New York Times said of the film: “There is something hearteningly honest about it. Sincerity, simplicity, dignity — they all apply.”22

Blood on a Wolf Mountain (狼山喋血記, 1936) starred Li Lili and Lan Ping, latter of whom would later become the wife of Mao Zedong

Blood on Wolf Mountain (1936) tells of a village terrorised by a pack of wolves. The film was made just before the start of China’s war with Imperial Japan and is usually seen as a direct allegory of the conflict between the two countries. The film starred the famed actress Li Lili and Lan Ping, who would later be better known by the name Jiang Qing, the wife of Mao Zedong and one of the infamous Gang of Four. Later, during the Cultural Revolution, Li Lili and her husband would be denounced and tortured on the orders of Jiang Qing, who used her power to pay back her grievances from her acting days and who, allegedly, was jealous of Li Lili’s acting talents. Li Lili’s husband died during this period, but she survived and would go on to live to age 90.23

The Second Sino-Japanese War was in full force in 1937 and, by November of that year, Shanghai was occupied by the Japanese. During that year, Fei managed to direct four movies – Martyrs of the Northern Front (1937), Gold-Plated City (1937) and Murder in the Oratory (1937) all took the form of Chinese opera. Fei also took part in the anthology film Lianhua Symphony (1937) with his short film Nightmares in Spring Chamber. The four films were deeply nationalistic and were meant to fight against the Japanese hegemony, a common theme in the films of the time.

Confucius (孔夫子, 1940)

Fei Mu, along with many of his compatriots fled the Japanese occupation to Hong Kong, where he met the producer Jin Xinmin, with whom he had the idea to make a movie about the life of Confucius.24  Confucius (1940) was shot in Shanghai during the “Orphan Island” period (1937-1941), during which the Chinese sections of Shanghai were occupied by the Japanese with the International Settlement and the French Concession remaining free. The films of the period were made in these free zones and in surprising numbers, with over 230 produced during the five years.25

The shoot of Confucius ran for a whole year, far longer than planned, and went five times over budget. When the film was released in December 1940, the leftist critics were critical of Confucius as a character and his relevance to the modern age. The director’s answer was that he had tried to bring out the real Confucius, under the centuries of falsities laid on him by the conservatives. In his words:

“Confucius the saint and Confucius the man are two characters.[…][Confucius] experienced the pain of shattered dreams and hopelessness never experienced by mankind before. On his deathbed, he himself called his life a failure. ‘Confucius the saint’ is the creation of later scholars of a god-like persona whose every move and word is exalted as sacred, turning him into a ‘mysterious icon of knowledge’, devoid of flesh and blood.”26

Otherwise the film received praise, especially from the cultural elites of Shanghai. It would be re-released in 1948, in a severely re-edited version, which angered Fei so much that he felt the need to denounce the new version in a newspaper advertisement. After that, the film was presumed lost until 2001 when an anonymous donor sent a copy of the film to the Hong Kong Film Archive. They painstakingly restored it and the film could finally be shown again to appreciative audiences.27

1941 was another busy year for Fei. He collaborated with the Austrian director-couple Luise and Jacob Fleck on the film Children of the World (1941). Luise Fleck is known as one of the earliest female directors in history. Her husband, Jacob Fleck, had been interned at Dachau Concentration Camp, but survived, after which the couple had emigrated to Shanghai. This would be the first and only collaboration between Chinese and international filmmakers before the founding of the People’s Republic of China.28  Later that same year, Fei made the Peking opera adaptation Songs of the Ancient China (1941) and The Beauty (1941), a love story set to the backdrop of Shanghai’s theatre world.

On December 8, 1941 Japan invaded the foreign concessions of Shanghai. Japan took over the film industry by ending American film imports and being the only source for film stock. Many artists fled to Hong Kong, but Fei stayed behind to care for his ailing mother. Not wanting to work with the Japanese, Fei changed his focus to working in the theatre and directed numerous plays, first for the Tianfeng Theatre Company and later for the Shanghai Art Troupe, which he founded himself.29  According to troupe member Wei Wei, later to star in Spring in a Small Town, Fei was an exceedingly capable theatre impresario, whose charm made even the Japanese leave them alone.30

Fei would have to wait until after the war, in 1946, to make his next film and, even then, he didn’t succeed. The Magnificent Country was apparently meant to be a story of the communists and nationalists forming a coalition to rebuild China after the war. However, the Chinese civil war, which had begun in March 1946, made filming hugely difficult and finally the movie was left unfinished.31

Remorse at Death (生死恨, 1948) was China’s first colour film, but suffered from the poor film stock used

1948 would be a busy year for Fei, with him directing three films. Two of these, The Little Cowherd (1948) and Remorse at Death (1948, also known as Eternal Regret and Wedding in the Dream) were once again Peking opera adaptations. Remorse at Death starred the legendary Peking Opera artist Mei Lanfang and would be China’s first film shot in colour. China didn’t have facilities to develop colour film and there were concerns of high import duties if the film was processed outside of the country. To sidestep this, the future star of Spring in a Small Town, Wei Wei volunteered to smuggle the film print through customs. Distracting a customs official with chocolates, a rarity in Shanghai at the time, she managed to get the developed film back.32  Despite her efforts, the film’s release was a disaster. The colours were washed out, due to the cheap film used, and, released in the middle of a raging civil war, the film received little notice.33

Fei Mu’s third film in 1948 would become the main reason he is remembered today. Spring in a Small Town is set in then present-day and tells of a family living in the eponymous small town. The main couple, an ailing husband and her depressed wife, are living a loveless existence, until a doctor, a childhood friend and old flame of the wife, comes to visit. For a moment there’s the possibility of a new romance and even of a love quadrangle, with the husband, the wife, the doctor and the husband’s young sister, but the film ends with the doctor leaving alone and the husband and the wife staying together.

Spring in a Small Town (小城之春, 1948)

Spring in a Small Town was made rather quickly, in three months, during the Chinese civil war, with only five actors, who were all relative newcomers to cinema. The minimalistic style of the film was partly due to necessity, because the film was made on the cheap, to offset the expenses of an another, more ambitious, production by the film studio. Fei cut down the original script by Li Tianji by two-thirds, even taking out one character. The director told the writer he didn’t really see the film as a love story, but as a movie about dejection.  At first, the film was called Bitter Love, until the name was changed to Lost Love and then Spring in a Small Town was finally settled upon.34 To Wei Wei, the female lead of the film, Fei gave the direction “inflamed emotions must be kept under control”.35

During the shoot, Fei told the actors to forget the script and encouraged naturalism. He told the actor Zhang Hongmei, who played the sister, to wear her own clothes in the film. To Wei Wei’s character, the director incorporated many of the actress’ habits, such as loosening the top button of her cheongsam (qipao) after drinking and twirling a handkerchief between her fingers. He also insisted on recording the sound live, such as when the characters of the film sang a song during a boat ride, instead of recording the song afterwards in a studio. For a scene of the sister’s birthday party, the director had the actors have fun among themselves for the whole afternoon, until shooting the scene in one shot.36  This all was because Fei wanted the film to feel “lifelike, truthful and honest.”37  Sometimes this naturalism backfired. Li Wei, who played the doctor, had apparently never really had a girlfriend. Wei Wei’s acting with him was so convincing that Li fell in love with his co-star. After filming, Li’s obsession with Wei Wei became too much for her and she ended up escaping to Hong Kong.38

During the filming, China was in the midst of a civil war and still healing from the Second World War

The film was shot in Songjiang, a small town one hour away from Shanghai. Most of the film is set outside, among the rubble of the still recent war. When asked by the film’s screenwriter on his choice to shoot among the bomb-damaged ruins, Fei answered: “Sometimes a cinematic frame can speak volumes.”39  Fei Mu’s filmmaking in Spring in a Small Town is reserved and inobtrusive. He uses lengthy takes and eschews close-ups. Fei also uses lot of fades, sometimes even in the middle of the scene. The film’s style is reminiscent of the films of Wong Kar-wai who counts Spring in a Small Town among his favourite films, “for its poignancy.”40

Wong also said of Fei:

“From my point of view, there has been only one ‘film poet’ in Chinese film history, and that is[…] Fei Mu who made Spring in a Small Town. I definitely don’t deserve the title of ‘film poet’”41

In 1948 the film’s reception was less celebratory. The audiences were lukewarm and the leftist critics called the film decadent and ideologically backward. The critics also attacked the film’s “narcotic effect”, its refusal to denounce the property-owner class and its conservative ending. The film was pulled from distribution.42

The People’s Republic of China was founded in 1949. Once again many of the artists in mainland China moved to Hong Kong and Fei Mu, along with his family, was among them. Fei never wanted to completely settle down in Hong Kong and only planned to wait for the dust to settle in Shanghai enough for him to return.43  He founded the Longma Film Company, with the help of other refugees from Shanghai, such as the film producer Wu Xingzai, director Fei Luyi and, his old friend from the film magazine Haolaiwu, Zhu Shilin.44

In 1950, the director tried to return to the mainland. He encountered his former star Lan Ping, now known as Jiang Qing and married to Mao Zedong, the leader of the newly formed People’s Republic of China. Jiang Qing worked as the head of the film office of the CPC Propaganda Department. Jiang Qing asked Fei to write a so-called Jiantao. Jiantao was a common practice at the time, where the person in question is asked to write a report where he reflects on himself and lists the things he has done wrong. Fei was especially asked why he went to Hong Kong and what he did there. Fei didn’t understand why he was asked to do so nor what he could reflect on. Humiliated, he returned to Hong Kong.45

Back in Hong Kong, Fei produced the film The Flower Girl (1951, also known as Flora) directed by Zhu Shilin for Longma.46  The director also tried to get his own films made. Wei Wei had arrived in Hong Kong and was living with Fei and his family. Fei cast her in his upcoming film and mysteriously didn’t tell her anything about the story, only for her to start learning unicycling and plate spinning.47

Unfortunately, Fei would never get to finish this film. On the morning of January 31, 1951 he died of a heart attack48  (other sources say cerebrovascular disease49)  at the age of 44. He died at his desk, where he was working on a future film script. The film he was working on with Wei Wei would be called The Show Must Go On (1952, also known as Sons of the Earth). It would be finished by Zhu Shilin. The film tells the story of an acrobatic troupe stranded in Hong Kong, struggling to make enough money to return to mainland China. It is not difficult to see where Fei found the inspiration for the film.

In the following years, Fei’s films would be mostly forgotten. Reflective of Fei’s status in China is a quote from a film history book in 1963 by a Marxist critic Cheng Jihua, who praises Spring in a Small Town’s superior artistry, but also says it was a “negative and backward work” and its “intellectual content was completely divorced from the great struggle of the people’s liberation.”50

Things began to change in the 1980s. China’s film archive was re-opened after several decades, leading to a new print made of Spring in a Small Town. It was finally re-released to a celebratory reception, where it would go on to influence the next generations of Chinese filmmakers. Zhang Yimou was among the first Chinese filmmakers to see the rediscovered film and he said of it:

“Back then we really didn’t like the modern Chinese films because so many films lacked realism and were phony. But a film like Spring in a Small Town has not been surpassed by many urban films to this day. It’s a rare masterpiece in Chinese film history.”51

The Hong Kong Film Awards Association named Spring in a Small Town the greatest Chinese film of all time in 2005.52  In Sight and Sound’s 2012 poll for the greatest films of all time, the film was voted the 127th greatest film of all time.53  The film was also remade by Tian Zhuangzhuang as Springtime in a Small Town (2002). The remake was Tian’s first film in almost a decade, after being blacklisted for several years.54

Describing Confucius, Fei Mu called him “[a] great educator, thinker and philosopher doomed to be a victim of the politics of his time”.55  This description would fit Fei as well. A man of brilliant artistry whose career was too often swept under the tides of history, until finally emerging to international celebration, unfortunately too late for him to know of it. Fei Mu himself seemed to at least see some hope in the act of making films:

“Beyond the ‘dark film circle’ is a bigger circle that is pitch-dark to begin with. The people within the film circle are but members of the common populace… If there is no light in the darkness, then light must be projected into the darkness. Film professionals, let us carry the cross!”56

Filmography:

1933: 城市之夜 (Night in the City)
1934: 香雪海 (A Sea of Fragrant Snow)
1934: 人生 (Life)
1935: 天倫 (Song of China)
1936: 狼山喋血記 (Blood on Wolf Mountain)
1937: 北戰場精忠錄 (Martyrs of the Northern Front)
1937: 鍍金的城 (Gold-Plated City)
1937: 斬經堂 (Murder in the Oratory)
1937: 夢斷春閨 (Nightmares in Spring Chamber) (Part of a compilation film 联华交响曲 (Linhua Symphony))
1940: 孔夫子 (Confucius)
1941: 世界兒女 (Children of the World) (with Luise & Jacob Fleck)
1941: 古中國之歌 (Songs of Ancient China)
1941: 國色天香 (The Beauty)
1948: 小放牛 (The Little Cowheard)
1948: 生死恨 (Remorse at Death)
1948: 小城之春 (Spring in a Small Town)

Endnotes:

  1. Daruvala, Susan, “’The Courage to Live’: Woman, morality and humanism in Fei Mu’s Spring in a Small Town”, Confucius Institute for Scotland, p. 2. http://www.confuciusinstitute.ac.uk/cinema-china/lectures.html
  2. Chinese Film Encyclopedia Writing Team, “费穆”, Cinepedia, http://www.cinepedia.cn/w/fei_mu/
  3. Tan Ye; Yun Zhu, Historical Dictionary of Chinese Cinema. (Lanham, Toronto, Plymouth, UK: The Scarecrow Press inc, 2012), p. 55.
  4. Doraiswamy, Rashmi; Padgaonkar, Rashmi, Asian Film Journeys: Selections from Cinemaya (Wisdom Tree Publishers, 2011)
  5. Tan Ye; Yun Zhu, Historical Dictionary of Chinese Cinema, p. 56.
  6. Yingjin Zhang, Chinese National Cinema, (New York & London: Routledge, 2004) p. 110.
  7. Daruvala, Susan, “’The Courage to Live’: Woman, morality and humanism in Fei Mu’s Spring in a Small Town”, Confucius Institute for Scotland, p. 3
  8. Zhiwei Xiao; Yingjin Zhang, Encyclopedia of Chinese Film. (London & New York: Routledge, 2002), p. 162.
  9. Ibid p. 162.
  10. Chinese Film Encyclopedia Writing Team, “费穆”, Cinepedia.
  11. Ibid.
  12. Daruvala, Susan, “’The Courage to Live’: Woman, morality and humanism in Fei Mu’s Spring in a Small Town”, Confucius Institute for Scotland, p. 2 .
  13. Chinese Film Encyclopedia Writing Team, “费穆, Cinepedia.
  14. Ibid.
  15. Tan Ye; Yun Zhu, Historical Dictionary of Chinese Cinema p. 56.
  16.   Der-Wei Wang, David, “Fei Mu, Mei Lanfang and the Polemics of Screening China” The Oxford Handbook of Chinese Cinemas, Rojas, Carlos; Chow, Eileen, (Oxford University Press, 2013), p. 63.
  17. Bren, Frank, “Wan Hoi-Ling”, Directory of World Cinema: CHINA 2, Bettinson, Gary (Bristol, UK & Chicago, USA: Intellect Books, 2015), p. 112.
  18. Laikwan Pang, Building a New China in Cinema: The Chinese Left-wing Cinema Movement, 1932-1937, (Lanham, Boulder, New York, Oxford: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, inc. 2002), p. 45.
  19. Ibid, p 124.
  20.   Der-Wei Wang, David, “Fei Mu, Mei Lanfang and the Polemics of Screening China” The Oxford Handbook of Chinese Cinemas, p. 65.
  21. Fonoroff, Paul, “Why Song of China is essential viewing for fans of Chinese cinema”, South China Morning Post, 6 May 2015, https://www.scmp.com/magazines/48hrs/article/1786636/art-house-song-china-1935
  22.   Nugent, Frank S. “’ Song of China,’ an All-Chinese Silent Picture, Has a Premiere Here at the Little Carnegie.” New York Times, 10 November 1936, https://www.nytimes.com/1936/11/10/archives/song-of-china-an-allchinese-silent-picture-has-a-premiere-here-at.html
  23. Shaun Rein, ”What I Learned From China’s Angelina Jolie”, Forbes, 17 October 2010 https://web.archive.org/web/20100818032657/http://www.forbes.com/2010/08/17/li-lili-chinese-actress-lessons-leadership-managing-rein.html
  24. Ritter, Peter, ” Film on Confucius Resurfacing”, New York Times, 28 August 2009, https://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/28/arts/28iht-confucius.html
  25. Poshek Fu, Between Shanghai and Hong Kong: The Politics of Chinese Cinemas. (Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 2003), p. 10.
  26. Yuanyuan Wang, ” The Travel of Fei Mu’s film Confucius from 1939 to the present”. Journal of Cambridge Studies, Vol 4. No. 2 June 2009, https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/35282146.pdf
  27. Ibid.
  28. Stoian, Ema A., “Fei Mu 费幕, one of China’s Greatest Directors Legacy”, Cinematografic Art & Documentation, nr. 7 (11) 2013.
  29. Chinese Film Encyclopedia Writing Team, “费穆”, Cinepedia.
  30. Chu, Donna; Wong Ain-Ling, “Wei Wei – From Shanghai to Hong and from Dragon-Horse to Feng Huang”. From Small Town to the Big Screen: A Retrospective on Wei Wei. Hong Kong Film Archive, 2017. https://www.lcsd.gov.hk/CE/CulturalService/HKFA/documents/2005525/7439981/ehouseprog_01.pdf
  31. Wong Ain-ling, “Introduction: The Vicissitudes of History”, Fei Mu’s Confucius, April 2010,  https://www.lcsd.gov.hk/CE/CulturalService/HKFA/documents/2005525/2007353/4-1-45_intro_e.pdf
  32. Wong Ain-Ling, “Wei Wei Remembers Spring in a Small Town”. From Small Town to the Big Screen: A Retrospective on Wei Wei
  33. Der-Wei Wang, David, “Fei Mu, Mei Lanfang and the Polemics of Screening China” The Oxford Handbook of Chinese Cinemas, p. 72-73.
  34. FitzGerald, Carolyn, Fragmenting Modernisms: Chinese Wartime Literature, Art, and Film, 1937-49 (Leiden, Boston: Brill Publishers, 2013), p. 177.
  35. Zhange, Jia, I Wish I Knew, 海上传奇. Xstream Films, 2010.
  36. Wong Ain-Ling, “Wei Wei Remembers Spring in a Small Town”, From Small Town to the Big Screen: A Retrospective on Wei Wei
  37. Daruvala, Susan, “’The Courage to Live’: Woman, morality and humanism in Fei Mu’s Spring in a Small Town”, Confucius Institute for Scotland, p. 10
  38. Zhange, Jia, I Wish I Knew, 海上传奇.
  39. FitzGerald, Carolyn, Fragmenting Modernisms: Chinese Wartime Literature, Art, and Film, 1937-49, p. 177.
  40. Wong Kar-Wai, ”Movies: Wong Kar-Wai”, Newsweek, 29 March 2008, https://www.newsweek.com/movies-wong-kar-wai-84519
  41. Chinese Film Encyclopedia Writing Team, “费穆”, Cinepedia.
  42. FitzGerald, Carolyn, Fragmenting Modernisms: Chinese Wartime Literature, Art, and Film, 1937-49, p. 173.
  43. Zhange, Jia, I Wish I Knew, 海上传奇.
  44. Zhiwei Xiao; Yingjin Zhang, Encyclopedia of Chinese Film, p. 162.
  45. Chinese Film Encyclopedia Writing Team, “费穆”, Cinepedia.
  46. Ibid.
  47. Chu, Donna; Wong Ain-Ling, “Wei Wei – From Shanghai to Hong and from Dragon-Horse to Feng Huang”
  48. Yuwu Song, Biographical Dictionary of the People’s Republic of China. (Jefferson, North Carolina & London: Mcfarland and Company inc, 2013), p. 79-80.
  49.   Chinese Film Encyclopedia Writing Team, “费穆”, Cinepedia.
  50. FitzGerald, Carolyn, Fragmenting Modernisms: Chinese Wartime Literature, Art, and Film, 1937-49, p. 173.
  51. Zhen, Ni, Memoirs from the Beijing Film Academy: The Genesis of China’s Fifth Generation. (Durham & London: Duke University Press, 2002), p. 103.
  52. Anonymous, “最佳華語片一百部 The Best 100 Chinese Motion Pictures”, Hong Kong Film Awards, http://www.hkfaa.com/news/100films.html
  53. Lee, Kevin B., ” Two “Greatest Films” Polls Yield Different Results for Best Chinese Films”, dGenerate Films, 22 August 2012, http://dgeneratefilms.com/critical-essays/two-greatest-films-polls-yield-different-results-for-best-chinese-films
  54. Mackie, Rob, ”Sprintime in a Smalltown”, The Guardian, 5 December 2003 https://www.theguardian.com/film/2003/dec/05/dvdreviews2
  55. Wong Ain-ling, “Introduction: The Vicissitudes of History”, Fei Mu’s Confucius.
  56. Jie Li “Home and nation amid the rubble: Fei Mu’s Spring in a Small Town and Jia Zhangke’s Still Life”, Modern Chinese Literature and Culture Vol. 21, No. 2 2009

About The Author

Jasper Mäkinen is a writer and a media worker from Finland. He also directs films under the name Jasper Late.