In Street Angel, what role does the character of Xiao Yun (the older sister) play in the film's overall message about the fate of the country?
Street Angel is a film that was produced in 1937 and was released on July 24 1937. It was written and directed by Yuan Muzhi. It stars the popular singer Zhou Xuan, Zhao Huishen and Zhao Dan.this film runs for eighty seven minutes. It was produced by Mingxing Film Company and was distributed by the United States Company, CinemaEpoch. The film is from China and uses the language of Mandarin.
It deals with two sisters XiaoHong and XiaoYun who have fled their home country due to war to North East China to Shanghai where they live under brutal conditions under the care of their adoptive parents. XiaoYun is forced into prostitution while her sibling serves as a tea house singer. The sisters then realize that their adoptive parents plan to sell Xiao Hong to Mr. GU a wealthy fellow where they seek the help of their neighbor who is a street musician together with his misfit friends.
The movie begins with a shot of a Shanghai skyscraper which brings the audience's focus into the slums of Shanghai. XiaoYun atthe beginning of the movie appears to be a silent character who is not given much attention in the film. She plays the role that brings the audience back to reality. She is a prostitute who is deeply in love with Chen and is jealous of her younger sister Xia Hong. She is seen handing her younger sister suitcase and assuring her that she will be fine despite the fact that it is a forced marriage and one that is not based on love since XiaoHong is in love with Cheng. The act of her being kind to her younger sister brings her closer to the audience.This portrays that the women especially the vulnerable ones who are desperate are seen as objects of generating wealth and not beings who have rights. The foster parents who use them for generating money to an extent of forcing the older sister to prostitution shows the high degree of poverty that exists in the country. In the film we see XiaoYun seeking shelter with Chen who is disgusted by her due to her profession despite the fact that she is the sister to his girlfriend. By taking up residence with Cheng and his misfit friends she is compelled to rescue XiaoHong.At this point in the film it shows that the society recognizes that you do not have to sell yourself to make a living.
Xiao Yun goes ahead to rescue her sister from Mr. GU with the help of Cheng and hisfriends. This clearly shows that the people can stand up to corrupt society and find a better life. Mr. GU and the erhuplayer later learn of the where about of Xiao Hong and enquire about it. Xiao Yun gives time to run away as she confronts the erhu player who calls her a slut and hits her head against the wall. She responds by throwing a knife at him which misses and he picks it and throws it at her, hitting her chest which leads to her death. This marks the end of the film which is shot outside the window of their little apartment, which later moves back to the skyscraper as if to point out that this was just a glimpse of what people in Shanghai slums are going through.
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