#83 The Goddess (1934)

We’ve seen a lot of tragic romantic love stories on this list. Well, this next film is a tragic love story between mother and son. The Chinese masterpiece The Goddess is about a prostitute that has to resort to her low position in society to take care of her son but the revealing of her secret could mean trouble for both her and her son.tumblr_mq2aw6dgi11qzjzyyo4_250

This young woman played by Ruan Lingyu is a prostitute that has to resort to this job in order to take care of her son. Even though we never see any sex scenes, we do see what a prostitute would go through and how it’s not a role that any woman should resort to take. This isn’t someone who’s proud of her job. This is what would happen if a woman was uneducated and couldn’t go to school. That men would treat her like property. But she’s willing to go through with this demeaning position in order to give her son the education that she never had. We see how society is quick to point fingers at this woman because of what she does for a living instead of trying to get to know her. Her son can get a bad reputation because of her which can really break your heart while watching this film. It’s realistic this way because people really will be quick to judge someone based on their profession instead of asking them why they have to do what they do for a living.


I can absolutely understand why people would think of Ruan Lingyu as the Greta Garbo of China considering she uses such subtle facial expressions and a face for close-ups. She expresses such sorrow in her eyes both for herself and for her son without going over the top. I was very sadden to find out about the fate of Ruan Lingyu as she committed suicide at the young age of 24 a year after completing this film because she couldn’t get away from the meddling tabloids. It’s a shame how insensitive some people can be where they can’t just leave an actress alone who wants to keep her private life private. I’m glad I was able to see this film because her performance will always be in my memory and I suggest you see this film too in order to keep the memory of Ruan Lingyu alive.

Watch this tragic mother and son story and comment what you think:


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