Starring HUANG Yu-Siang, Sandrine Pinna,
LEE Lieh, and HSIEH Kan-chun
The film is an expanded remake of CHANG's 37-minute short The End of the Tunnel(2008). Both films were inspired by the true story of HUANG Yu-siang, a blind piano prodigy, when he leaves the security of his family -- mother (played touchingly by LEE Lieh), father, and younger sister -- to attend the music program at a university in Taipei. There he befriends Jie, a young woman who works in a menial service job but wants to become a dancer. In both films HUANG plays himself and Sadrine Pinna portrays Jie.
HUANG's mother drives him from their rural village to the university and helps him learn to navigate the campus. His roommate CHU Tze-ching (HSIEH Kan-chun), a somewhat portly phys-ed major, arrives and proves to be a true friend.
The film depicts the difficulties HUANG encounters, not just those from his being blind, but even more so those arising from the negative way he's regarded and treated because of his blindness. We also learn about how some such negative encounters in his past have shaped his attitudes towards both his blindness and, to a degree, towards others.
|In this poster, HUANG is center left with Pinna next to him. LEE Lieh is at lower left.|
The film has an almost documentary feel about it. Partially this comes no doubt from its being derived from real life events. But also it stems from the extensive - perhaps exclusive -- use of natural light throughout. All four of the main actors, HUANG, Pinna, LEE, and HSIEH give lovely, natural performances. Also worth noting is the editing, which is exceptionally outstanding in a sequence near the end of the movie when HUANG and Jie are separately auditioning.
Touch of the Light won Best New Director for Chang at the Golden Horse Awards, one of six awards it has received, in addition to another ten nominations. It was also selected as Taiwan’s official entry for the Best Foreign Language Film category of the 85th Academy Awards®.
Touch of the Light is a very special film, both touching and life affirming.