Little Toys 小玩意(1933)
It is a 1933 silent film directed by filmmaker Sun Yu. It is one of two films Sun Yu directed in 1933 (the other being Daybreak). The film stars popular Chinese actress Ruan Lingyu and was produced by the leftist film production company Lianhua Film Company.
Today the film enjoys a positive reputation and was named one of the hundred best Chinese films by the Hong Kong Film Awards in 2005.
Sister Ye lives in a rural village, where everyone makes traditional toys. She is considered the creative mind behind inventing new toys, and all the villagers look up to her. Tragedy strikes, however, when Sister Ye's husband dies of an unknown illness, and while Ye is attending to him, her son is kidnapped and sold to a wealthy lady in the city of Shanghai. Shortly after, the village is destroyed during an attack between rival warlords, forcing the villagers move to the city, where they continue to make toys.
Ten years pass, and Ye's daughter Zhu'er, is now 17. She has also become a toy designer like her mother. War has befallen the nation, and the villagers' attempts at patriotism bring them to early deaths. While helping the Nationalist army at the rear, Zhu'er is killed in an attack by the Japanese.
On New Year's Eve, Sister Ye is dressed in rags, sitting on the curb, selling toys. A young boy buys toys from her, and it is none other than her son, who she does not recognize. Ye then goes into a rambling rant, scaring the people around her, causing them to disregard this crazy woman. She begs the citizens on Nanjing Road to fight against the Japanese. Slowly, they begin to listen to her and realize she is right.