|Lingyu Ruan, "The Goddess," 1934.|
Sent to jail, the now ex-Principal finds her and tells her he will take care of her son and get him a proper education, leaving her with some comfort.
It's a brutal film. The love she shows for her son, and the compassion of the school Principal, is almost crushed by her circumstances. Today many prostitutes are seen for what they really are, victims and not criminals, and how she defends herself against the pimp would be seen as self-defense. But in this film, in 1934, she's treated like a degenerate criminal.
She even considers herself degenerate, which is one of the most moving parts of this film. Lingyu Ruan portrays a woman who thinks so little of herself, but in reality she is the strongest and most compassionate person in the story. And it's almost a relief when the Principal recognizes her strength.
Sadly this actress committed suicide a year after this film was made. She was subjected to much of the same scorn from the people of China, because she was a film actress, as was her character of a prostitute. I'll be looking for a deeper biography of her and I'd like to see more of her films.