Director: Wu Yonggang
Year Released: 1934
A single mother (Ruan Lingyu), who supports herself and her son by working as a prostitute, tries to hide money from her pimp "The Boss" (Zhang Zhizhi) in order to pay for her kid's education, but he steals the money and the school dismisses the boy because everyone finds out what Mom does for a living. It's an austere early silent film from China - with an outstanding performance by Lingyu - that finds a way to send a message without being overly moralistic: the good principal realizes that expelling the child and denying him an education and a right to better himself is the way to move society forward and give people born into poverty an opportunity to 'climb out.' "Purity of family background is of paramount importance" reads the one sign ... but what about purity of wet markets? Or am I getting ahead of myself by multiple decades?