|6:30 p.m.||Touch of the Light|
Chang Jung-Chi (Taiwan, 2012)
Taiwan’s official entry to this year’s Academy Awards and produced by Wong Kar-wai’s legendary Jet Tone company, Touch of the Light presents the true story of a musician, blinded at an early age, who finds success and friendship in the big city. Siang (played by the blind pianist Huang Yu-Siang, whose story the film is based on) leaves his rural home to attend National Taiwan University as a music major. The school’s first visually impaired student, Siang may not fit in at first, but quickly makes friends with his rock ‘n roll roommate Ching, and encounters Jie (Sandrine Pinna), a drinks vendor with a “nice” voice. Frustrated by lack of money, Jie’s dreams of being a dancer are perilously close to being crushed. Her growing friendship with Siang, and his determination to find his own way in the world despite the barriers against him, inspires her to audition for a foreign dance troupe.
Picking up from his acclaimed short film The End of the Tunnel (which followed the progress of Siang through school), director Chang Jung-Chi benefits from the great charisma of his two stars, Huang (who “plays” himself with utter charm and honesty) and Pinna. Pairing the joyful noise surrounding Siang and his music with the inner peace that comes from Jie’s dance instruction, Chang creates one of the most audience-friendly, inspiring films of the year; fittingly, it won the Audience Award at the 2012 Busan International Film Festival.
• Written by Li Nien-Hsiu. Photographed by Dylan Doyle. With Huang Yu-Siang, Sandrine Pinna, Lieh Lee, Hsieh Kan-chun. (110 mins, In Taiwanese, Mandarin, and Cantonese with English subtitles, Color, Video)