This is one of those rare films that you don't expect to be impressed by, but they somehow manage to get right to the core. It is truly amazing to find out that a Chinese film of the '30s has the ability to express such universal matters and feelings, whereas most of the films today just stay on the surface. We owe Wu Yonggang and Lingyu Ruan a lot for this wonderful, deeply humanistic film.
Lingyu Ruan gives one of the screen's most revered performances here in this Chinese silent that finds her as a single mother forced to prostitution to care for her infant child and provide a better life for him. Lingyu is simply astounding here with a turn that captures the pain and anguish but also the hope and joy in living vicariously through her young son's promise for the future. First viewing but not the last.
Heartbreaking, with the thinnest of silver linings, this is a gem of silent filmmaking. The direction and story are fine enough, but its the performance by Lingyu Ruan that's the standout here. Without all the overacting that's prevalent in silent films, Ruan gives an understates & marvelous performance. It's sad how soon her career was cut short.
Wu Yonggang's "The Goddess" (1934) is a masterpiece of classic Chinese cinema featuring a brilliant career performance from the incomparable Ruan Lingyu. As beautiful as she was exceptionally talented, the system ultimately chewed her up and spit her out, resulting in her suicide about a year after the release of The Goddess, a film which, in some ways, mirrors the tragic turmoil of her own life.
The screen loved Ruan Lingyu and its so tragic that she didn't make many films but the films she did make (like this one the goddess) proves that she is actually in a caliber all her own. Greta Garbo wishes she had her presence. This film is beautiful and Lingyu's performance makes it a masterpiece.