Warmhearted family drama, which won prizes in Cairo and Shanghai, makes some dark turns dealing with death and family, but is still gentle enough to play kidfests. "Touched by Love" is finally too sentimental and morally ambiguous to get fingered abroad, though.

Warmhearted family drama, which won prizes in Cairo and Shanghai, makes some dark turns dealing with death and family, but is still gentle enough to play kidfests. “Touched by Love” is finally too sentimental and morally ambiguous to get fingered abroad, though.

Craggy-faced Qiang Gao, looking like Fred Gwynne on a Chinese “Car 54, Where Are You?,” plays a local cop so scrupulous he’s having trouble supporting his small son (Ben Niu). A bigger problem comes from his claim the kid’s mom is off at school in Australia when actually she was killed in a car crash. Worse, he’s had the boy’s pretty young teacher write fake letters, ostensibly from Oz, for more than a year. When the cop discovers he’s dying of cancer, he has to somehow admit the mom is already gone and also get the teacher to take over the reins. She’s already in love with the big lug, but do you think he knows it? These meller elements are handled with surprising lightness, even if co-helmer-scripter Jiang Ping doesn’t seem particularly aware of the quandaries he’s raising.

Touched by Love

China

Production

A Shan Film Studio (Beijing) production. Produced by Liu Baogui. Directed by Jiang Ping, Liu Xin. Screenplay, Jian Ping, Hu Hong Yi, Zhang Chen Yang.

Crew

Camera (color), Liu Baogui. Reviewed at Hawaii Film Festival, Nov. 3, 2002. Running time: 97 MIN.

With

Niu Ben, Qiang Gao, Keyu Guo, Xie Yuxin.
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