Cash, a young painter (28) is making love with Jasmine (35) in his basement. A horse race is on the TV. Donald (50), a famous painter, Jasmine’s husband and Cash’s teacher, comes to check the progress of the painting and sees the messy bed. He walks to the half-done painting Stellar and tries to guide Cash but finds his shaking hand doesn’t allow him to do so. Donald says he will keep the promise of compensation, then leaves with Jasmine.
In the basement, an art magazine with Donald and his new painting exhibition Stellar on the cover is on the table. Cash tears the cover of and throws it out of the window. Cash answers the call from his bookie (horse gambling) impatiently. Then, he fixes the staples on the frame of the canvas.
Several days later, Donald and Jasmine pack Cash’s painting into their car. Donald refuses to give Cash money and the recommendation letter, and forces Cash to paint for him for another exhibition. Cash gets angry and says he will reveal the secret that Donald can no longer paint.
Cash seeks a job in a small studio but gets rejected. He wants to get his paintings exhibited in a gallery but is told by the gallery manager that his painting style is too similar to Donald’s.
Cash is discouraged. He tries to change his painting style. In his basement at night, he pours gin on the oil painting inadvertently, and the alcohol creates a fresh style in the painting, which reinvigorates Cash.
Cash brings his new work to the gallery and gets accepted by the manager. When he walks out of the gallery, he is pulled into an alley by two gang members. They hurt Cash’s arm, asking him to pay his gambling debts on time.
On TV, Donald is talking about his work Stellar. Gallery manager comes to return Cash’s work. Cash goes to Donald’s studio with his arm in plaster. He sees another young painter talking happily with Jasmine. During an argument, Cash learns it was Donald who asked the gang members to hurt his arm and asked other studios not to accept him. He wants to fight with Donald but Jasmine tells him to leave the city.
On the opening day of Stellar. Cash walks into the museum with a knife in hand and rushes to Stellar quickly and breaks the first layer of the painting. The second layer shows up and the words “BY CASH LUCAS” are on it. Donald tries to stop it but the public witnesses everything. Cash is taken away by security.
Several days later, a journalist asks Cash about his future plans. Cash looks at his shaking hand, and says he will no longer paint, in disappointment, then looks to the distance for a long time.
Directed by Lily Ma (USA)