小城之春 (Spring in a Small Town), 1948
Dir: Fei Mu
I suppose this is sort of the beginning for a lot of the moody, dreamy, lush, etc. films that come out of east Asia. Which is awesome. Someone could make a 4 hour movie with a wind blowing against a tree and a soft female voice-over in Mandarin and I'd sit through the whole thing. Probably enraptured. The voice-over is very nice in this, too. It's a little awkward at first with Yuwen literally vocalizing every action she is about to make ("I am going to see my husband...") but on the other hand, the whispering tone is just beautiful. When I say dreamy, I think it has something to do with the poor production value actually. A lot of the skies are blown-out because the film was overexposed, but during the scenes on the city wall, you can actually see white wrapping around rocks, which only adds to the dream-like state of Yuwen's dilemna. The film itself is fairly easy to watch in the classic melodramatic sense, though it's obviously more subdued than it's peers in America. That, among other things, make this a pretty awesome find despite the condition of the print.
Thanks for the tip, Alex.