Blindness Challenging Melodrama in Your Eyes Tell (2020) and Blind Massage (2014)

Author: Xinyi Wang, Nagoya University, Japan
Published: December 30, 2023

Citation: Wang, X. (2023). Blindness Challenging Melodrama in Your Eyes Tell (2020) and Blind Massage (2014). IAFOR Journal of Cultural Studies, 8(2).


While blindness has been a recurring motif in melodramatic fiction films, this article argues that some contemporary East Asian films about blindness provide a template for challenging ableism and melodramatic conventions via textual analysis. Based on the work of Peter Brooks, Linda Williams, and other significant studies on melodrama and blindness, I first introduce three main characteristics of and gaps in melodrama (virtue, dichotomy, and the moral occult) while examining the connections between blindness and melodrama in East Asian film history. Then I explore how filmic representation in East Asian can question melodramatic conventions and disrupt the dichotomy between disability and non-disability by using the Japanese film Your Eyes Tell (2020) and the Chinese film Blind Massage (2014) as case studies. Your Eyes Tell begins to problematize the melodramatic dichotomy and ableism by attaching great importance to multiple senses, whereas Blind Massage emphasizes the diversity of blindness and challenges melodramatic patterns by representing the body, emotions, affect and sound in very specific ways.


East Asian films, blindness, melodrama, film aesthetics