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. 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.
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. [Synopsis courtesy of Berlinale]