Spring in a small town 小城之春 (1948, ENG sub)

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Spring in a small town 小城之春 (1948, ENG sub)

Spring in a Small Town Directed by Fei Mu Living in a small town, nothing ever changes As morning draws nigh, l’ve finished shopping l take a long walk along the city wall Already a habit with me Anyone walking along this wall feels as though they’d left the world behind The eyes do not see. The mind does not think Were it not for the hand in my basket, and medicine for my husband, l might not go home at all The house is in an alley Through a small bridge is the back door of our house Now the house has only one servant Old Huang wastes the medicine, pouring it over the back gate Personal superstition One half of the house has been destroyed by cannon fire The main quarters is uninhabitable l live with my husband Dai Liyan in the garden courtyard Young Master, Young Master, Young Master . . . Already out Liyan doesn’t see me more than once a day We don’t say more than three words to one another l go out to buy groceries He goes out to the garden early in the morning He hides in the garden. When called, he can’t be found He says he has tuberculosis. l think it’s neurosis l don’t have the courage to die l think he lacks the courage to live Young Master, You run into the garden every morning You forgot to take your scarf. lt’s cold lt’s spring The morning is still pretty cold Not cold My health is like this house. Destroyed beyond all repair You should take care of yourself Your heart needs to lighten up The house can always be rebuilt Don’t we have peace now? After eight years of war? Peace? Should we change your prescription today? No change My wife has brought the medicine, Yes, she bought vegetables too Has little sister gone to school? She has not Little sister lives on the other side of the garden

Doesn’t seem like they came from the same mother She lives in her own little world Brother, brother Brother. l made this little landscape Tell me if you like it l’ll bring it to you Don’t come down Go to school Her elder brother constantly indulges in his past glories Younger sister doesn’t remember any part of that With the house in shambles, Liyan feels all the pain, suffering and guilt But his little sister feels none of it With the vegetables, l entered the kitchen Then l got the medicine l bought for him l saw his face; we do not speak. Perhaps words separate us Yuwen Now he calls me Home from shopping Yes From now on, Old Huang should get the groceries He has enough to do. Besides, it’s my job l worry when you go out alone You always talk like this l failed you No you haven’t l can’t stand it being this way Here is your medicine. Same prescription Thanks, but no thanks l’ll get some more Don’t walk away. l want to talk Last night, were you okay? Yes Can you sleep soundly? Depends on the sleeping pills Why are you acting like this? Why so angry? l don’t know. l can’t help it l’m a failure. My family fortune handed down for generations, gone under MY watch We’ve been married for eight years. l’ve been sick for six Lived separately for two . . . three years Little sister is young And you’re the only one that takes care of her l don’t want you to live like this You spend your days doing embroidery in her room, living alone day after day l don’t know if you’ll abandon me or l’ll abandon you Don’t say anymore We should if we want to discuss this What’s there to discuss? You can do it by yourself l pushed away my own door

Sat in my own bed l know not where the day leads Day in and day out. One after another Picked up the embroidery to go to little sister’s Seems in her room, the sun shines a little brighter l’ve long forgotten the past My entire life, l tried not to think about it Who knows if there will ever be one person — ? He came from the train station He walked over the city wall l had no idea he was coming How did he know l lived here? He knew the back way His feet trampled the medicine He knocked on the door. No one heard He knows his way around Liyan’s house Around the lane, into the garden Liyan, Liyan! He calls him. l didn’t know he was his friend He jumped over the wall into the garden Liyan, Liyan! He recognized his voice Zhichen! This is so unexpected You don’t believe it’s really me l doubt anyone else answers to your name. Had to be you Zhang Zhichen l came in through your wall What breeze brought you here? The southeast and northwest Yes, how have you been? lt’s you lt’s me lt’s you lt’s me lt’s been ten years Ten years What a surprise Where have you been? Oh, for several years, l’ve been to Hankou, Chungking, Changsha, Hengyang, Guilin, Kunming, Guiyang l’ve followed the news of the war Did you graduate in medicine? l’m a doctor now Congratulations, congratulations And you? l experienced many hardships, but l recovered My house had been destroyed. l waited for you to come back Really. Anything else happen? l got married Congratulations, congratulations Master, you have a guest? Old Huang This young man! lt’s me, Old Huang Old Huang? You’re hair isn’t even white

Liyan, he watched us grow up when we were little Young Master, where have you been all these years ln the hinterland Old Huang, tidy up the small den Let Zhichen stay for a few days Tell the missus we have a guest for dinner And prepare a chicken for dinner Master, you should stay a little while longer Young Master misses you l can stay for an extra day l’ll take your bags lt’s okay l’ll go tell Daughter-in-law Where’s your little sister? She’s gone to school We need to talk spanning 5000 years and bridging 9000 miles Daughter-in-law! When Old Huang first told me, l had no idea it was him – Daughter-in-law – What is it? We have a guest, all the way from Shanghai Young Master has asked him to stay in the den He told me to ask you to prepare a chicken Done Daughter-in-law, Young Master is letting him stay in the two small dens Has he any baggage? l’ve taken care of it. l’ll prepare the bedding too What’s his name? He’s an old schoolmate of Young Master’s A master Zhang He said his surname’s Zhang. lt could be him Or maybe not Daughter-in-law, Young Master wants you to introduce yourself to our guest My mind was flustered. l maintained my composure lt can’t be him l changed my clothes l tidied up my hair lt’s a common name, l told myself l stood on the covered walkway, but could not see him clearly She’s here He does not know l married Liyan Why did you come? Why did you need to come? l see you This is my wife, Yuwen This is Zhang Zhichen, my old friend and classmate Sister, it is you Now, l’ve become his ”sister.” You two know each other? We grew up next door to one another Marvelous! Let’s sit inside Old Huang, where’s sister? ln her room Sister, where are you? Why aren’t you embroidering? ls Brother home? Keep it down. We have a guest Who? Guess Dr. Guo? l’m gonna take a peek Just me. Recognize me? Little sister, when you were six years old, you were this high, and now, whoo! how did you get here? Hmm, how DlD l get here? Bravo

Now that l’ve sung, tell me that story you promised lt won’t come out Why not? Because l’m stuffed with lotus buns Here you are, Master Zhang Both these rooms are ready for you. You surely remember When Master Dai was alive, he set them aside for young Master to study Come in Don’t make tea, Old Huang. l don’t drink tea You don’t drink tea? l don’t wash Not even your face? You haven’t gone to bed yet? What’s that? These are orchids No need to put out flowers at night Daughter-in-law told me to set them out for you l make trouble for you, Old Huang No trouble at all Time for bed Please come in l didn’t know it was you You brought this water here yourself? ln case you got thirsty l don’t drink tea at night l’ll leave it in case you need to wash up Thank you Your towels and toothbrush. All new Thanks, l have my own You’re too kind lf you need it, use it Been ten years since we last saw each other Old Huang found some candles for you After midnight, there’s no electricity When the steam whistle sounds at midnight, they shut the lights l’m ready for bed. Won’t need the candles lt’s awful for us to make you sleep here Nothing here is how it should be Not at all. l have all that l need l didn’t know you were our guest lt’s me Are you missing any bedding? Not at all You need an extra sheet. Gets cold at night l’m not afraid of the cold l’ll get them anyway No. really. There’s no need l should l’ll be right back Don’t go to so much trouble No, l’ll be right back Are you feeling ill?

Do you have a fever? l don’t. No fever l brought an extra sheet and blanket l’ll make the bed You’ve gone to so much trouble No trouble at all l’ll do it myself. l’ll do it myself Thank you How is his illness? Not too bad He’s had tuberculosis for a long time. ls he in any danger? No danger Will he be okay? He’ll be okay Tell me the truth His heart isn’t in good shape But you shouldn’t tell him Oh, why don’t you give him a check-up tomorrow? See you tomorrow Oh, is he asleep? He’s asleep Starting tomorrow, have him sit in the sun every morning These past few days, we’ve had good weather lt’s been sunny every day lt will be clear again tomorrow Yes, l think so See you tomorrow See you tomorrow What’s that? The electricity’s about to go off Sounds like an air raid siren So why are you turning on the lights? Because they’re about to go off Why don’t you sit down for a while? The orchids smell really good Really? Have a seat See you tomorrow See you tomorrow Thank you The morning of the second day Brother Zhang! Hey, come on in. You look nice in your school clothes What are you hiding behind your back? l wanted to give you something What? Guess Candy? No. Here

Wonderful. A little potted landscape There’s a hill and a tree . . A pine tree And a little grassy spot. Thank you Do you like it? Like it? l love it l made it myself Then l like it even more ls your brother up yet He’s up. He’s sitting outside in the sun Are you making a house call? l’m going to examine your brother Brother’s not really sick, is he? He’s a little ill l think it’s mental. Always in a bad mood Hey! Brother Zhang, you– Oh, so little sister is all grown up Those orchids smell a little too sweet That’s no good Oh really How am l doing? No real problem. Just sit in the sun Morning, big sister Morning How funny. Yuwen told me to sit in the sun too Even better, you shouldn’t spend so much time cooped up at home Big brother. Today’s Sunday. l want to go out Okay, where to? l want to go sightseeing with Brother Zhang Come on, do you want to go? Sure You really should go to town. You’ve been away for ten years l’d been meaning to l want sister to go too. Sister! Will you come with us? Can l? Of course you can. Let’s go together Swell! The four of us then. Go change your clothes, sister Yuwen, Let’s all go We’re all going together! We went out walking with no particular destination Somehow we ended up on the city wall. l walked a step behind He stopped . . . He stopped and waited for me We went rowing along the river. Little sister sang a song The morning of the third day Good Morning

Morning After breakfast, make something so we can take a walk And talk things over Where to? The city wall A feeling of helplessness came over me on top this broken-down, hollowed out city wall, How long do you feel like staying up here? Like this? l could stay all day Would it be better if we walked someplace else? Wherever you like How come you never have an opinion? Because it’s up to you You’re the one who asked me out for a walk l’ll go wherever you want me to go You’re not the same person l used to know Have l changed that much? No. Before the war, if l had asked you to go out, you’d say, ”Whatever you like.” And if l didn’t ask you to go with me, you’d still say, ”Whatever you like.” lsn’t that what l just said? But l didn’t wait for you. l didn’t do ”whatever you like.” lf l asked you to come away with me, will you still say, ”Whatever you like?” Do you really mean that? How’s my pulse? ls it okay? lt’s fine Do you think l’ll get better? Of course What kind of medicine should l take? Main thing is get plenty of rest and take care of yourself Medicine is secondary And don’t get too angry You mean, at her? Not necessarily at her l don’t know why, but my temper has gotten worse and worse Because of your health My wife is as good as they come. But because of my illness,

our marriage isn’t normal There’s nothing out of the ordinary You wouldn’t know. All the things a wife ought to do She’s done Grocery shopping, cooking, housecleaning l’m grateful but so ashamed that she’s stuck with a husband as sick as l am l’m can’t cry. Nor can l laugh She cries alone in her room, never smiles in front of others She only performs her wifely duties for me She’s cold The kinder she is, the colder she feels Do you get what l’m saying? l do. But l disagree on one point What’s that? She’s not cold We’ve been friends for years Can you talk to her? l had no idea you two knew each other lt would have been better if she had married you Don’t say such things l’m not like this with him because you’re here l know Liyan is good to me The year we got married, l forced myself to like him When he got sick, he became more eccentric l felt empty, at a loss All l thought of was you After one, two years, Liyan became more of a responsibility He became my husband. l serve him And l serve him faithfully My heart is yours, but l feel sorry for him What would you have me do? What are we going to do? Unless we Leave l leave Unless he dies l regret saying that. Never even thought about it, not even to myself. How could l have said that? Zhang! Zhang! Zhang! Zhang! Another Sunday. The ninth day since he arrived Zhang! Sister Brother Why are you shouting? lt’s Sunday. l’m looking for Brother Zhang so l can ask him to go out for some fun So you like spending time with him? He’s inside. Why call for him out here? How should l know where he is? Don’t shout. lt’s not proper Brother, if you run into him, tell him l’m looking for him Thanks Liyan You’re out here. Didn’t you hear my sister calling? Liyan, l’m leaving What? You want to leave again? l’ve worn out my welcome. lt’s too much trouble No, that won’t do. You must stay Come inside. My sister’s looking for you Why don’t you take her out and have some fun? One, two, three, four One, two, three, four One, two, three, four

One, two, three, four Well done Zhang, l’ve never danced before Little sister, l didn’t know you could sing and dance You don’t seem to be the offspring of the Dai family Does your brother approve of this? neither approves nor disapproves l think he just wants to be a bookworm Studying at home all day long Seems you enjoy climbing up atop the city wall Why’s that? Only interesting place in this town You can walk along this wall forever When you look in the distance, you can’t see anything at all Then you realize how small the world is You know in a small town like this, especially with a family like mine, you could suffocate to death Look at Big Sister. Everyday when she’s done shopping, she walks along the city wall Maybe it’s the only way she can let go a little Only when she lets go, she’ll find the strength to move on Brother Zhang? What’s on your mind? Were you listening to me? l heard So what’s on your mind? l was thinking maybe you’ll become a poet or a philosopher when you grow up Nonsense! Who knows what you were really thinking? l was thinking that when l graduate, l’d like to go to Shanghai and study at a high school You think you can help me find one? Think you can help me find a school? Oh, of course We had a great time. l’m all sweaty Really See you later You haven’t gone out? No place to go Are you upset No, l’m not We should talk l’ll come tonight Promise me something Don’t come to see me again behind Liyan’s back Okay? l’ve been thinking about this. l have to ask you What? Where did the two of you go today? On top of the city wall Nice view? You’re the one who showed it to me Seems you and sister are getting close l watched her grow up She’s sixteen this year Still a child A child! And you take her around all over the place Who do you think you’re fooling? What’s that supposed to mean? l don’t understand She’s Liyan’s little sister and l’m his wife She’s my responsibility Then l won’t take her out anymore When l see him, l’ll tell Liyan l came to talk to you l won’t do anything behind his back See you tomorrow

Don’t be mad. l was only playing with you Please sit. We have to talk What do you have to say? What do you think of Zhichen? Why do you ask? Don’t ask questions. Just tell me what you think of him Any friend of yours must be a good man No, he’s a much better man than l Why do you bring him up? Little sister turns sixteen this year You see. l want her to wait a few years for him You mean, you want him to wait a few years for her Right. Let Zhichen wait a few years for sister But will she wait? That’s why l wanted to ask you to discuss it with her l’m her brother. l’d feel awkward So you want me to play matchmaker Talk it over with her And Zhichen? Do you want me to discuss it with him first? l’ll tell him myself Zhichen might not want to wait that long Does he have someone else? He seems to get along very well with sister lt’s the perfect match So that’s how you see it Your little sister is still young. Still in school Do you really want to fill her head with those ideas? l don’t think l can do it Just test the waters There’s always time later Okay lt’s getting late. Go to bed You’re not taking sleeping pills anymore, are you? No. Not anymore l’ll see you tomorrow Please don’t go Good morning When you’re through with breakfast,

make up some excuse to meet me at the city wall What for? What for? You’re . . . You’re going grocery shopping now? He wants me to play matchmaker for you Matchmaker? Didn’t you get along nicely with his little sister? You think it’s funny? He’s assigned me a task, and l’m carrying it out l’ve made my offer. Now it’s up to you to consider it You’re joking? l’m perfectly serious l’m telling you, the whole thing is a joke Has Liyan thought about how young his sister is? Today’s her sixteenth birthday Oh. The year l left, weren’t you just sixteen Only we didn’t have a matchmaker You seem to be implying that a sixteen- year-old is old enough to be engaged. Are you saying that? No, l’m not. l am not willing. Satisfied? Yuwen, l’m begging you Stop pushing me; stop torturing me l’ve had enough l regret l didn’t arrange for a matchmaker back then Why didn’t you? Weren’t you willing back then? Why didn’t you? l was willing Then why didn’t you? Wasn’t it because your mother didn’t approve? But she’s gone now You’re married l suppose if he offers his sister, it’d be the next best thing l have my own problems l don’t know if l want to go away with you Yuwen You’re turning sixteen. Have some wine! Who’s going to toast me? You know me. l don’t want to drink l’ll just eat some more Sister made so much food today How about a drinking game? – Brother tried to teach me, but l’m still no good – Go play l’ll follow you ls that how you play? l don’t want to play anymore But you have to drink the forfeit You can’t drink that l’ll drink it l don’t want to play that anymore. Let’s play something else Now you drink Liyan, you’ve been to Szechwan Let’s play Szechwan style Like this? l can’t drink wine – l’ll drink it – l will Old Huang! Old Huang, have some wine! The young miss can drink? – Can you drink wine? – Sure she can Old Huang, let’s play Oh! Old Huang wins This is your birthday. l should toast you properly Then l’ll have a little too l’ll play a game with you

Not ”guessing fingers” or ”rock paper scissors,” l’ll play you one that goes like this . . l know that one! We used to play that back home Big Sister loses Hold on. Let’s use bigger cups Old Huang. Bring us bigger cups This time, three rounds Whoever loses drinks three cups Three big cups! You lose. One more time You lose Zhang! You’re going to get drunk Zhang is getting drunk Oh, that’s where you are Zhang As if in a drunken stupor, As if in a dream The moon rises high in the heavens There is a light breeze Let me in there Don’t go in there

Thank you He needs to take a sleeping pill He thinks maybe l will kill myself l’m left with only regret l want to die l can no longer face the world He remembers that Liyan has some sleeping pills Who’s there? lt’s me. Zhichen You’re still awake? l have a slight headache You’ve had too much to drink Can’t sleep l have some medicine over there. Eight tablets left l only need one Help yourself Okay lf you can’t see, l have matches

No need l found them l want to take one too One more won’t make you feel any better Don’t be ridiculous. You’re taking the whole bottle Don’t take too much He pours out Liyan’s sleeping pills and replaces them with vitamins Zhichen? lt’s me Still awake? What do you mean? What about your medicine? Zhichen took it You can’t sleep either? Strange. None of us seems to be able to sleep Go to bed Sit down. Sit down Please light the candle What for? To see you with The moonlight is nice Light a candle Come here Do you know that l envy Zhichen? He’s young and vital and healthy Since he’s been here, the house has been full of life Past few years, l’ve made life miserable for you But today, for once, l saw you happy l watched you while you were drinking You are still so youthful l nearly forgot you were my wife, and l said to myself that l’m not fit to be your husband l have to get better l have to keep living Otherwise, l may as well just die early and stop making you suffer Tell me, Are you still in love with Zhichen? Tell me the truth What happened to your hand? l burned it boiling water How could you be so careless? Why are you telling me all this? Yuwen’s out

Liyan l’ve decided to leave today l was going to leave a letter for you last night, But l just couldn’t go without saying goodbye But why? l have to go Last time you wanted to leave, l convinced you to stay l still need you here Your illness isn’t that serious Just be sure to take care of your heart l’m no use to you here lt’s not about me lt’s Yuwen lf you stayed here, she’ll be happier Yuwen needs you l nearly did something truly inhuman Please trust her l take responsibility for everything that happened here Thanks for the medicine l hope you’ll stay l need to change my life l won’t go over to little sister’s room He told me not to once Young Master, will you not eat breakfast? Shut the door No, just leave it open Daughter-in-law, would you like breakfast? l want to live l have to tell Zhichen to go away The first time he’s been inside my room in years

Young Master, would you like a snack? Young Master? Young Master? Daughter-in-law! Come quickly! Something is wrong with the Master! Go get his sister! Old Huang First find Master Zhang. Quickly! Master Zhang! Master Zhang! The Master has passed out. Come quickly! Fetch my medical bag, quickly When did you find him like this? Just now lt was Old Huang who found him? Found him here when he came to bring him some food Does he have a chance? You have to save him for me

Thank you Young Master Go tell his sister Brother . . ls he–? Sister, what’s wrong with him He was okay just now What could have done this? You’re with him all day long You should know what ailment he suffers from Brother . . . Brother Sister, you mustn’t disturb him Zhang, you’re a doctor You have to save him! You can’t let him die like this He won’t You’re his best friend. You have to save him l’ve already given him an injection What’s wrong with him? He can’t hear me at all Old Huang, what can we do? Why didn’t you call me sooner? Zhang Liyan We’re all here We’re all here What were you thinking? What’s wrong? Why did you–? Don’t talk with him too much Let him rest as quietly as possible How is he doing?

He wants to eat something l’ve already given him some food Try not to worry Zhang is leaving tomorrow When your summer vacation starts . . No Big Sister Big Sister, Big Sister, you and Zhang are in love, aren’t you? Yes Okay, we can stop here. You can go back l wanted to see you off Still a long ways to go. We’ll walk you to the train station l meant to say it’s too far for you Are you afraid we won’t make it? l can carry your luggage Fresh. Try not to make your brother angry lt wasn’t me who provoked him Do you think young Master will recover? He’ll be fine So when will you come back? Next spring No. Come in the summer The End Captions by T. L. Young