A Touch of Sin

Film

Thrillers

Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>2</span>/5
 

Time Out says

Posted: Fri May 17 2013

Delicate, scholarly and sometimes aggravatingly opaque, Chinese director Jia Zhangke’s socially conscious films haven’t always travelled well, despite being a fixture at international festivals. (His last effort, the 2010 documentary ‘I Wish I Knew’, didn’t even get distribution in the UK.) On paper, the racily titled ‘A Touch of Sin’ promises something a little more commercial from Jia. For starters, he improbably claims that martial arts movies, particularly those by late wuxia master King Hu, were his chief inspiration this time round.

Still, anyone expecting some kind of all-kicking, all-boxing extravaganza will swiftly learn otherwise minutes into this lengthy, ruminative study of the everyday violence pervading contemporary Chinese society. Saying that, his liberally bloodstained new movie should still come as a shock to the director's regular admirers, as the film punctuates its blunt sociopolitical commentary with bouts of gruelling carnage in the Takashi Miike vein. These genre flirtations don’t exactly come naturally to the director: one driven-to-the-brink character clutches a knife in her fist with stiff unfamiliarity, and Jia shifts tonal gears just as mechanically. If the final effect is somewhat less nuanced than his previous work, it's a good deal more vigorous.

If Jia’s films often feel like they’re withholding their subtext from viewers outside China, ‘Sin’ is no exception. Its four notionally linked, occasionally outlandish narratives are actually all pulled from recent headline-making cases in the country: a laid-off miner seeks to level the score with those who cost him his job; a migrant worker discovers the possibility of a gun; a spa receptionist (Jia’s wife and muse, Zhao Tao, giving the film’s most vivid performance) goes off the deep end after being assaulted by a client; an itinerant teenage factory worker seeks a drastic escape route from his humdrum existence.

Only the woman’s story is diverting in isolation; interest in the men derives chiefly from our curiosity about how they connect, if indeed they do. Every vignette, meanwhile, takes place in a different region of the country, each one more bleak and beautifully shot than the last. It’s travelogue cinema for the dissolute and gravely disenfranchised.

0

Reviews

Add +

Release details

FR release:

2013

Duration:

135 mins

Cast and crew

Director:

Jia Zhangke

Screenwriter:

Jia Zhangke

Cast:

Jiang Wu, Wang Baoqiang, Zhao Tao

Cinemas showing A Touch of Sin

Filter

Filter

Le Brady

39 boulevard de Strasbourg, 10e, Paris Show map/details

  • Address:

    Le Brady 39 boulevard de Strasbourg
    10e
    Paris

  • Transport:

    Métro : Château d'Eau

  • Map

    1. Le Brady
      • 39 boulevard de Strasbourg
        10e
        Paris
      • 48.871782, 2.355450
Map
  • Fri Apr 25:

    VO
    • 11:30

MK2 Beaubourg

50 rue Rambuteau, 3e, Paris Show map/details

  • Address:

    MK2 Beaubourg 50 rue Rambuteau
    3e
    Paris

  • Venue website:

    www.mk2.com

  • Transport:

    Métro : Rambuteau

  • Map

    1. MK2 Beaubourg
      • 50 rue Rambuteau
        3e
        Paris
      • www.mk2.com
      • 48.861927, 2.353877
Map
  • Fri Apr 25:

    VO
    • 11:30

Users say

0
<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5
LiveReviews|0
2 people listening