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Fri November 8, 2013

The Goddess

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at Pacific Film Archive (PFA) Theater (see times)
Imported Print!

Live Music/Judith Rosenberg on piano


(Shennü). Silent film star Ruan Lingyu delivers one of her greatest, most luminous performances as a mother forced into prostitution in this classic of the Golden Age of Shanghai cinema. Splitting her time between rocking her infant son to sleep and prowling the streets for lecherous men, our virtuous heroine soon falls prey to a portly, violent pimp, who’ll stop at nothing to keep her under his sway. Will a kindly schoolteacher help her and her son, or will violence be her only solution? The film’s unblinking gaze at prostitution could make even jaded denizens of pre-Code Hollywood blush, while Ruan’s immortal performance combines the beauty and steel of contemporaries such as Stanwyck, Dietrich, and Harlow. Inspired by the sorrow and resolve of the prostitutes he passed on his way to work, director Wu Yonggang originally conceived of this project as an oil painting before creating a film instead.

—Jason Sanders

• Written by Wu. Photographed by Hong Weilie. With Ruan Lingyu, Tian Jian, Zhang Zhizhi, Li Keng. (85 mins, Silent with English intertitles, B&W, 35mm, From China Film)
Imported Print! Live Music/Judith Rosenberg on piano (Shennü). Silent film star Ruan Lingyu delivers one of her greatest, most luminous performances as a mother forced into prostitution in this classic of the Golden Age of Shanghai cinema. Splitting her time between rocking h...
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Film / Television

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Pacific Film Archive (PFA) Theater
2575 Bancroft Way, Berkeley, CA 94720

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