A Touch of Sin X  {Tian zhu ding}

A Touch of Sin X
Tian zhu ding

China, 2013, 125 Minute Running Time
Genre/Subjects: Asian, Drama, Political
Program: Contemporary World Cinema
Language: Mandarin English Sub-Titles

Conceived as an oblique, 21st-century take on the wuxia (literally “martial hero”) film, where that genre’s perpetual rendering of motion is displaced onto China’s sizable itinerant-labor population, A Touch of Sin divides into four fluid, gently overlapping parts, with each centering on an economically marginalized protagonist. Working from mainland China’s snowy north to its subtropical south, director Jia Zhangke opens with Dahai (Wu Jiang), a poor laborer incensed by his village chief’s failure to make good on an earlier promise. Dahai ultimately responds with extreme, even shocking violence in a segment that will establish the pattern for each of the film’s subsequent three sections.

In spite of its uncharacteristic, Takeshi Kitano-inspired explosions of violence, the filmmaker’s latest remains recognizably his own, from its elegant articulations of off-camera space to the post-communist kitsch on sale in the film’s fleshy final segment. As Jia surveys his homeland’s deeply troubled materialist present, the filmmaker provides an almost comprehensive catalog of his many emphases, whether it is the film’s countless forms of conveyance, the injustices that his actors suffer, or the motivations for the violence that in each instance is based on real events. This is to suggest that there is a conceptual completeness to A Touch of Sin that elevates it well beyond standard or even very good art-house fare. Indeed, this Cannes prize winner is instead a major masterpiece from one of China’s greatest living directors.

For information on group rates and community partnerships, please contact Karla Rodriguez at karla@denverfilm.org

DIRECTOR: Zhangke Jia
Producer: Shozo Ichiyama,
Editor: Matthieu Laclau, Xudong Lin
Screenwriter: Zhangke Jia
Cinematographer: Yu Likwai
Principal Cast: Wu Jiang, Vivien Li, Lanshan Luo, Baoqiang Wang, Jia-yi Zhang, Tao Zhao

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