In this 1937 film, the setting is contemporary Shanghai, when the economy was on the skids (a depression was in full swing), resistance fighting was going on in the north against the Japanese, and the Communists were making their presence known outside of that arena as well. Four students are looking for work, willing to take anything that comes along. One of the students gets a job at a newpaper, one goes to a village to live, giving up on work in the city, one ends up as a window-dresser, and the last joins the army fighting the Japanese. The first student goes out on assignment to do a story on a factory when he runs into his neighbor, a young woman with an education degree and newly teaching. The two investigate conditions at the factory and as their social-consciousness is raised, so is their interest in each other. Their love story plays out against the backdrop of the socio-political problems they encounter, and due to their commitment to reform, they both lose their jobs - and they split for awhile. Meanwhile, the young friend who had gone to the village to live is overcome by depression and commits suicide, while the other friend in the army sends information about fighting on that front - and his life is in danger as well. The young couple start to reconsider their decision to separate, since life seems hard enough without adding more stress to the burden they already carry. The director of this film, Shen Xiling, was killed in a bombing raid on Chungking in 1940, at the age of 36.
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