A lonely young woman (HU Die) is a prostitute trying to raise a child. Every evening she goes out on the street. One day, followed by the police officer, she is asking a thug, a man nicknamed Tiger Zhang (Zhang Zhihi) to hide her. He becomes her protector and takes the opportunity to extort all her money from her. She is trying to escape and looks for a new place to live. She looses her child.
When she finally finds the child (Li Keng), he is grown up and goes to school. He is a gifted and hardworking student, but despite his efforts the school rejects him because of his roots. His mother decides to move to another town to give him another chance. She then finds Tiger Zhang. In argument, she accidentally kills him. She is arrested and sentenced to twelve years imprisonment.
The Director of the school comes to see her in prison and promises to raise her son as his own child. He says his mother is dead.. After serving his sentence, a cold night, she goes to the director’s house to see her son from far away, and finally – she disappears forever…
THE DIVINE is the first and the most famous film by WU Yonggang, the director who knows that a dry melodrama is the most touching one.
HU Die plays the lead role so magnificently and is an interesting contrast to Ruan Lingyu, who has a completely different style. However, HU Die moves us tremendously, even though in a completely different way than Ruan. Four years after THE DIVINE, WU made two versions of this film – two speaking remakes of this film, and gives HU Die the role of the prostitute.
The first version is shot in Shanghai and is in Mandarine Chinese. The second one is filmed in Hong Kong and is in Cantonese. The three main actors Hu Die, Zhang Zhizhi, LI Keng plays in both versions. Second plan actors are recruited locally.