Acclaimed Chinese film on blind masseurs set for release soon

By Xing Yi ( China Daily ) Updated: 2014-11-05 07:34:16

Acclaimed Chinese film on blind masseurs set for release soon

Tui Na tells the stories of happiness, sorrow, love and longing among a handful of blind workers at a small massage parlor in Nanjing, capital city of eastern China's Jiangsu province. [Photo/China Daily]

In order to ease Ma's pain owing to the unrequited love, Zhang Yiguang, a fellow masseur who lost his sight in a mining accident years earlier, takes Ma to a brothel, where Ma gets romantically involved with a female sex worker and is later caught by the police.

If Ma's story gives readers a peek into the emotional world of a youngster, the story of Du Hong, the most attractive blind masseur in the parlor, puts the spotlight on the condescension the larger society may have for the blind.

Du is congenitally blind but is talented. When her teacher at a special school discovers her, she is persuaded to learn the piano. Du shows no interest initially, but as she starts to love playing the piano, her teacher asks her to perform a difficult Bach piece at a charity show.

Faced with an audience, Du is nervous and falters in her performance, but people applaud her loudly nevertheless. Du's pride is hurt when she realizes that her audience doesn't really care for her musical skills but they are merely showing their pity because she is blind. The episode makes her give up the piano and learn massage instead, so as to lead a more independent life.

The characters in the novel are based on Bi's experiences with blind masseurs at a parlor in his city, where he went for frequent massages earlier due to a shoulder pain caused by long spells of writing.

"When I hang out with them, sometimes I forget that they are blind," Bi said in a media interview in 2013, when the novel was adapted to a stage play. "They are just like us."

In the many stories that have been carefully woven together in the book, Bi has tried to present his readers with a vision of similarity in both worlds - one that belongs to blind people and the other to people with sight.

"If the novel overturns anything, it overturns the stereotyping of blind people," according to a review of the book in Youren, a magazine published by One Plus One, a disabled persons' organization run by blind people.

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