Learning Difficulty





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Recommended by Disability

Blind: Major Films   no photo.
TitleFly me to Polaris (1999)
Alternative/Original TitleXang Yuan
DisabilityBlind Deaf
CountryChina/Hong Kong
GenreRomantic Comedy
DirectorJingle Ma
CastRichie Chen Cecilia Cheung William So Eric Tsan
NotesYvonnes writes: Synopsis. A young man nicknamed Onion, (Richie Chen, a pop star from Taiwan) lost his sight and speech as a young boy. He explains his history in a voice over, as we are introduced to his living quarters and way of life in a hospital where he is employed as a typist. He is well established in his surroundings and knows all the staff. He is especially friendly with a nurse Autumn (Cecilia Chan) who cuts his hair and spends time with him. Their communication is shown to be easy with Onion using gesture, writing and signs. He also plays saxophone very well and secretly serenades her with the instrument when she is stressed. He denies that he is the saxophonist preferring to keep his amorous feelings quiet, feeling that he is unlikely to be able to take the relationship further. After an evening spent together making wishes on stars, Onion is so happy that he dances through the hospital grounds only to trip and fall into the road and be hit by a car and killed. His spirit goes to a heavenly sorting centre, reminiscent of Heaven Can Wait. He asks to go back and is told by the be-suited "angel" that he can only go back for 5 days and that he will be unrecognisable and unable to tell anyone who he is. So he finds himself returned to the hospital able to see and speak and attends his own funeral. It is clear that Autumn is heart broken and regrets bitterly not expressing her love to Onion. In order to have a premise to talk to Autumn, Onion decides to pretend to be Cheung, an insurance adjuster, settling Onion's life insurance,. However, he inadvertently offends her with questions about Onions's death. As he panics, he decides to explain to her who he is but instantly suffers a fit. Disheartened he decides to both write and tape the whole story and sets off to find her at her sister's house. Whilst he is there, a doctor from the hospital, who has been unsuccessful in asking Autumn out, also turns up. He is very protective of Autumn and feels that Cheung is harassing her. Onion tries to explain but again has a fit. The doctor insists on taking Onion back to town. He returns to the sister's house to find that Autumn has found his letter illegible and the tape blank. He returns to the hospital and decides on one last ploy. He tells Autumn that he has Onions diaries and that he should read them to her as they are in Braille, which he can read. They meet in a cafT and he pretends to read the notes, giving details of their past encounters and how he felt about them, thus allowing him to express his love for her. She becomes so upset that she leaves. By this time, Onion is regretting his return and decided to help the doctor to start a relationship with Autumn so that she can start her life again. Autumn hears the beautiful saxophone playing again and rushes out to find the doctor playing, she starts to feel that he may be the right person for her. However, the doctor has a guilty conscience and tells her that the real player was in fact Cheung. Autumn thinks about all the strange things that have happened with Cheung and goes to Onion's room where she find his hidden box containing the saxophone and the diary which she finds to be empty. She now realises that Cheung must be a reincarnation of Onion and seeks him out. They only have a short time together to express their love for each other and to watch a meteor storm together which is what Autumn had previously wished for. Onion then floats away into the stars. Comments. Apparently this Chinese version of Heaven Can Wait was considered a real weepy in its native country. However, to my (Western) eyes, it seemed rather simple and nanve; not necessarily bad qualities. I thought the disability was acted quite well but losing your sight through an accident and your speech through a fever on the same day is unrealistically unlucky. I enjoyed the fact that the disabled character was portrayed as happy, well adjusted and an active part of a number of relationships. I liked the way that when Onion returned as Cheung, he showed traits of his past disability by, for instance, dialling the telephone by touch without looking. As always with films involving disability, I ask why did the script use a disabled character and often as in this case, I really have no idea.

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