An idealistic schoolteacher leaves his wife and family behind in 1930s Shanghai to join the Red Cross in the fight against the Japanese invasion. After he is captured, he escapes to Chongqing, where he marries a high-society hostess and establishes a new bourgeois life for himself. Meanwhile, his family lives a life of poverty in a squatter’s camp in Japanese-occupied Shanghai. Director Zheng and veteran filmmaker Cai (who focused mainly on the screenplay for fear of reprimand from the ruling Kuomintang Government) successfully intercut between the parallel narratives, which reflect the contradictory social conditions of prerevolutionary China and bring an epic scale to the life of the Chinese everyman. Considered the country’s equivalent of Gone with the Wind, this sweeping melodrama gave rise to a “romantic family epic” craze in 1940s China.Read More »
Chusheng Cai & Junli Zheng – Yi jiang chun shui xiang dong liu AKA The Spring River Flows East (1947)
Here is one of Cai Chusheng’s earliest films, set in and around the dancehalls of art deco Shanghai.
Plot, per wikipedia:
Pink Dream tells the story of a young novelist who is supported by a loving and hard-working wife. The novelist, however, is drawn to the decadent life of a socialite who introduces him to the dance halls that dot Shanghai. As the film progresses, the novelist soon learns of the emptiness of this urban existence and rejects it as a “pink dream.”Read More »