Shen nu, (The Goddess) (1934)



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Movie Info

An unnamed devoted mother sells herself by night on the streets of Shanghai in order to support herself and her infant son. When a gambler who calls himself "the Boss" strong-arms his way into becoming her pimp, she flees with her son and attempts to earn an honest living, but the Boss tracks her down and forces her back into prostitution. When her son reaches school age, she begins hiding away enough money to pay his tuition. Although her son is ostracized by other kids due to her profession, she takes great joy in providing an education and a potential better future for him. When the other parents want the boy expelled, a kindly principal fights to keep him in school. Meanwhile, the Boss finds her hidden cash, adding financial woes to the problems of social injustice.


Critic Reviews for Shen nu, (The Goddess)

All Critics (5) | Top Critics (2)

Free of moralism and melodrama, expressively composed and lit and very naturalistically acted, this is a film of startling modernity.

Jan 29, 2014 | Full Review…
Time Out
Top Critic

This exercise in social realism can be slow and requires concentration, but The Goddess provides a first- hand look at a remarkable performance by Ruan.

Jan 29, 2014 | Full Review…

One of the most powerful silent films of all time.

Jan 29, 2014

Ruan's performance is so heartrendingly pure that the film is almost unbearable to watch.

Jan 29, 2014 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

Tragic tale of shame and sacrifice.

Sep 30, 2013 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Shen nu, (The Goddess)


what could have been a mere preachy melodrama is elevated by lovely cinematography and the remarkable performance of ruan lingyu, a premier actress of chinese silent cinema in her penultimate film, as a woman fighting society's scorn to make a better life for her small son. tragically, the film mirrored her chaotic private life, which fueled scandal sheets and led to her suicide at age 24. u can see this film here-->

Stella Dallas
Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

Chinese silent film star Ruan Ling-Yu knew how to light up the screen. Whether there were happy or hard moments, her emotions projected the mood of the film.

Linda K. T.
Linda K. T.

Super Reviewer

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