A Touch of Sin
A Touch of SinOriginal Title: Tian zhu ding
Director: Jia Zhangke
China, Japan | Cantonese, Mandarin
Subtitles: Arabic, English
The latest film from mainland director Jia, dubbed “one of the best and most important directors in the world' by the New Yorker , takes on hot button issues seemingly ripped from today’s headlines. In four loosely connected stories about four people from four different provinces, he offers a portrait of contemporary China as an economic giant being eroded by violence, greed and misplaced values.
In the first episode, an angry miner (award-winning actor/director Jiang Wu) revolts against the corruption of his village leaders. But it is not until he arms himself with a rifle that his complaints are taken seriously. In the second, a migrant worker who seems to love his handgun more than his family illustrates the infinite possibilities that a firearm can offer. The third segment features Jia’s wife Zhao Tao as a pretty sauna receptionist whose very bad day starts when she gives her married lover an ultimatum and then careens downhill from there. The final story follows a callow factory worker who goes from job to job trying to improve his lot in life.
Japan’s Office Kitano, one of the coproducers here, seems to be the right partner for the material. Previously it would have been hard to imagine Takeshi Kitano–like geysers of blood erupting in a Jia film, but in A Touch of Sin , they feel entirely justified. Winner, Best Screenplay, Cannes Film Festival.
— Alissa Simon