The central triumvirate are all helpless to truly affect their situations and this makes the restrained interludes between would- be sweethearts all the more painful and poignant. The fact that they play out in near silence, only heightens the tension. Wei Wei imbues Yuwen with an unceasing rigidity that initially appears a wooden and old- fashioned performance until one realises that this is precisely the point; her traditional values explaining her unwavering stiff upper lip. Composition and framing additionally reinforce individual characters and the shifting relationship dynamics meaning that the voice offer afforded Yuwen is unnecessary and at times distracts. It's a minor quibble though, in what is otherwise a masterclass; with few sets and even less players, Mu truly has crafted one of Chinese cinema's quietly devastating landmarks. Spring in a Small Town explores the anguish and uncertainty of the late forties through a tale of repressed love that can't help but move you.