The epitome of Chinese realist filmmaking in the 30s, THE GODDESS stars one of the most famous women of the 1930s, Ruan Lingyu, as a mother living in Shanghai who, in trying to support her young son, is driven to prostitution. Ravishingly beautiful and full of bravura sequences and astonishing detail, the film draws its power from Ruan’s great, subtle performance. It is the first film ever to portray a prostitute sympathetically and is screened with the world premiere of a brand new score composed by Hongkongese-Scottish artist KimHo Ip, specially commissioned by Cinema China. Tragically, hounded by the tabloids, Ruan killed herself at the age of 25, just one year after THE GODDESS was released. Her funeral made the front page of the New York Times. She is mentioned in few history books now, but this landmark visual feast about motherhood, scapegoating and social esteem, is a glorious tribute to her.
Courtesy of the China Film Archive. New score commissioned by Cinema China ’07 from Kimho Ip (In2national).