Karmic Mahjong

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Original Title: Xue Zhan Dao Di

Released: 2006

Country: China

Director: Wang Guangli

Language: Mandarin

Theme: Philosophy & Ethics

Genre: Thriller, Suspense


“Heaven decides fate. Luck is created by oneself,” says blind fortuneteller Master Liu. In a mahjong game, fate is already determined, he says; how the winner and the loser react this is luck, he adds. The film opens at a mahjong parlor, and the game itself is a metaphor for filmmaker Wang Guangli.

Karmic Mahjong is a thriller in the vein of Alfred Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train and takes us on a journey towards murder. Involved in these dark plots: a wife, Lai, who finds her husband useless and sexually unattractive; her husband, Chen, a mechanic, who is plagued by bad luck; a young woman, Jia, whose son has been kidnapped; and Master Liu who foresees Chen’s coming misfortunes, not just with his wife but with business associates. When things go badly for Chen, Master Liu proves to be right, and Chen begs to be pointed in the right direction. Liu’s explanation of how to change their luck drives Chen into a pact with Jia.




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