Blind Massage is a form of therapy often practiced in China’s medical massage centres by the blind. Director Lou Ye who worked with a mixed cast of blind and sighted actors, follows his protagonists through their lives for a while, exploring their desires and dreams, but also sketching the reality of life in modern day China.
Ma lost his sight in a childhood accident and now relies on his hearing. His co-workers in a Nanjing massage parlour share his fate. With a camera that follows closely as they tentatively feel their way about and a soundtrack that takes note of even the tiniest of noises, this film enters a world of darkness. There’s Dr Wang, who gets dragged into his brother’s illegal money transactions, and his fiancé Kong, who knows that her parents would never accept a blind man as her husband. Then there is Yiguang, who lost his sight in a mining accident and who takes Ma off to a brothel. There’s also the young prostitute Mann, with whom Ma falls in love. The sensitive performances and experimental editing of this film opens our senses to the emotional world of the blind; the work also finds unconventional images to portray in particular their perception of beauty and desire.
Dream Factory, Les Films du Lendemain