Director: Zhangke Jia
Talent: Wu Jiang, Baoqiang Wang, Tao Zhao, Li Meng
Release Date: 16th May 2014
A China of peeling paint and crumbling villages is the backdrop to a multi threaded narrative following the down trodden in the modern People’s Republic as they each reach their inevitable breaking points. Not quite social realism, A Touch of Sin still continues director Zhangke Jia’s exploration of a modern transitioning China on a diminutive interior level.
Each character finds themselves disempowered and alienated by the concrete realities of their lives. Whether that be bureaucratic corruption, misogyny or poverty it is these infringements that eventually push the characters to shed the humanity that was being denied them to become baser, more violent version of themselves. Unfortunately this violence creates a prescient inevitability to each story arc which isn’t helped by the fact that the second half of the film is noticeably weaker creating a lopsided finished piece. The stifled atmosphere that emboldens the script eventually flags and the pacing loses its essential immediacy. Still, it’s an excellent look at the human stories underneath the progress and economic growth in the news.
(Written for Totally Dublin)