A Touch of Sin
Director: Jia Zhangke
A Touch of Sin brings to light the plight of the common working class in modern day China. Winning Best Screenplay at Cannes this year, writer and director Jia Zhangke (Still Life) intertwines four disturbing and violent stories, from four provinces into a startling snapshot of four citizens trying to survive. In the lead roles are Zhao Tao (Xiao Yu), Jiang Woo (Dahai), Wang Baoquiang (Zhou San), and Luo Lanshan (Xiao Hui) whose characters violently reach their breaking point. This vicious drama explores what makes someone snap and the depths of human fury.
Partially Japanese funded, the film plays out like a small budget indie movie making a comment on China’s current state of affairs. And instead of allowing the actual story to unfold through the visuals, it at times feels like a political lecture. Although the look is gritty which feeds the overwhelming despair, the manner in which it is presented just seems too clinical and academic.
It’s not for everyone, but worth viewing if you’re up for a long and violent glimpse into the everyday life of underprivileged men and women in the world’s next superpower. (Eric Marchen)