In her greatest role, Chinese silent-cinema icon Ruan Lingyu plays a prostitute who sacrifices everything to give her young son a better life, but finds herself beaten down by society at every turn. Startlingly frank and ahead of its time in its compassionate depiction of sex work, this devastating “fallen woman” drama achieves transcendent pathos through the stunning artistry of Ruan Lingyu. Her suicide one year after the film’s release at the age of 24 would deprive the world of one of its greatest silent actresses, but her magnetic, astonishingly naturalistic presence—recalling the modernity of Louise Brooks crossed with the grit of Barbara Stanwyck—is here forever immortalized. Digital restoration courtesy of the China Film Archive. The screening will be accompanied by a live piano performance by Donald Sosin.