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“ONE OF THE MOST POWERFUL SILENT FILMS OF ALL TIME” – SIGHT AND SOUND

Set in Shanghai, an unnamed woman must take up prostitution in order to support her son. Avoiding detection from the police, she accepts the protection of a criminal boss whose habitual gambling and violent personality end up causing her further problems.

The legendary Ruan Lingyu, sometimes called the Greta Garbo of Chinese cinema, was the biggest star in Shanghai cinema during the 1930s and here, produces a luminous performance as the mother forced into prostitution.

Ruan’s performance is so heartrendingly pure that the film is almost unbearable to watch…this great performer lends weight to the argument the purest films came out in the silent era.”

- Jeffrey M Anderson

“The kind of film that demands a rewriting of the film history books…Free of moralism and melodrama, expressively composed and lit and very naturalistically acted, this is a film of startling modernity.”

- Tony Rayns, Time Out Film Guide

Introduced by Susan Potter, Senior Lecturer in Film Studies, Department of Art History, University of Sydney

To read Janice Tong's program notes on the film, head here.

Rating

MA15+

Duration

79

Cast

Ruan Lingyu, Tian Jian, Zhizhi Zhan

Director

Yonggang Wu

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