]^D (1968)
Springtime Affairs

Reviewed by: Stephe
Date: 01/27/2011

In Spring-time Affairs, a barely-recognizable Zhang Yang, with
hair combed dashingly across his forehead, plays a married violin
virtuoso who becomes smitten with a nightclub singer, played by
Annette Chang, who was Julie Yeh Feng's memorable, spunky sidekick
in It's Always Spring. Being that it's from late 1968, the film is
in color, but it is mood piece just the same, thanks in part to some
woozily-lensed images and extreme close-ups. The plot is slight but
the somber, yearning, slightly bleak tone of the film carries it,
sort of like in the way of a Tarkovsky film like Solaris or Stalker.
And as with a Tarkovsky film, the viewing is a turgid experience
whereas the resultant processing of information and emotions yields
resonant evocation. An odd experience, it could also be compared to
the style of Alain Resnais, I suppose.

Reviewer Score: 5

Reviewed by: dleedlee
Date: 11/14/2004

A dreary story of a classical musician's affair with a nightclub singer.

Touring classical violinist Zhu Zhidan encounters club singer Yimei on the evening of his wedding anniversary celebration. He begins an affair with Yimei while his wife conveniently goes to Taiwan to visit her parents. Yimei seduces Zhidan and rumours begin to swirl around them. When Zhifang, Zhidan's wife, returns, the violinist breaks off the romance. Zhifang suggests going to the club to celebrate their last night in Hong Kong. There, she sees that Zhidan still has feelings for Yimei. She runs away to the countryside the next day. Zhidan, the opportunist, persuades Yimei to go abroad with him. At the last moment, Yimei has a pang of conscience and leaves without Zhidan.

Despite the melodramatic potential of the story, the film never comes to life. Certainly, Zhidan is despicable but he doesn't exhibit any sort of passion for Yimei (Annette Chang Hui Hsien). This is as tepid an affair as one could imagine. Only Liu Enjia's appearance, briefly in a cameo, as a noodle vendor does a momentary spark of life infuse this story. Unfortunately, the scene is too brief. Otherwise, the story unreels as a monotonic flatline. The script makes a languid attempt to contrast the 'high' classical musicianship of the violinist and the 'low' popular song of Yimei. Yimei is given a common Hong Kong club-rat boyfriend to oppose against Zhidan's overseas world travelling persona. The hope that the character, David Hong, would dramatically confront Zhidan at some point is unfulfilled.

The film ldoes ooks very lush, particularly the club scenes. Yimei has the opportunity to sing four songs and sounds quite pleasant. One can also hear a short snippet of a surf rock version of Nancy Sinatra's 'These Boots Are Made for Walking'.

The DVD is cropped to full frame from its original CathayScope which is disappointing. Quite often nothing remains but a dead screen when two characters are in dialogue.

At one point, Yimei presciently says that she hates dead ends. This film is one road better untravelled.

Reviewer Score: 5