A Touch of Sin
Chinese director Jia Zhangke’s latest masterpiece A Touch of Sin follows the paths of four characters as they tackle economic corruption and exploitation in contemporary China. Based on true events, each tale expresses the ways in which the main characters deal with troubles they individually face. From fighting against corrupt businessmen to tackling the issue of Chinese migrant workers in factories across the country, Zhangke openly exposes the darker side of the ever-growing Chinese economy, the underbelly that contemporary China so heavily relies on.
The film is violent from the start, but what is particularly brutal about each act of violence is the specific situation in which they occur – from spontaneous to calculated, the fierceness and brutality is frightfully realistic. Though the tales of the four characters are unrelated, the way in which Zhangke forms a vignette with each story provides a flowing narrative to the film, which is clearly indebted to the style typically adopted by Quentin Tarantino.
A Touch of Sin is worlds apart from Chinese Wuxia films that have gained international success, such as Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Zhang Yimou’s Hero. Audiences shouldn’t expect idyllic countryside scenes of rice crops or Buddhist temples, as Zhangke exposes the audience to “authentic” Chinese life and addresses prominent issues, which are very much relevant to contemporary Chinese society. Still, it isn’t necessary to be a major Chinese film buff or to know much about the politics to appreciate the mastery behind this film.
A Touch of Sin is released nationwide on 16th May 2014.
Watch the trailer for A Touch of Sin here: