The Spring River Flows East
(Yijiang chunshui xiang dong liu)
Andrew F. Jones is a UC Berkeley professor who teaches modern Chinese literature and media culture.
Bai Yang, Jin Tao, Wu Yinyan, Shu Xiuwen,
Part I: Wartime Separation (Ba nian li luan); Part II: Darkness and Dawn (Tianliang qian-hou). Included on the Hong Kong Film Awards list of the greatest Chinese-language films of all time, this decades-spanning epic has been termed China’s Gone with the Wind. A married couple in Shanghai are separated during the chaos of the 1937 Japanese invasion and the Sino-Japanese War, with their fates reflecting the divided classes of the nation. The husband reinvents himself in Chongqing as a successful businessman, while his wife and family remain in Shanghai, stuck in poverty. The most politically provocative and militantly left-wing work made during the immediate postwar era, Spring River incorporates harrowing newsreel footage of wartime occupation that amplifies its sorrowful effect.