DIRECTOR’S NOTE on “A Touch of Sin”

A Touch of Sin (天注定;China, 2013), A Kino Lorber Release.

Directed and Written by: Jia Zhangke
Producer: SHOZO ICHIYAMA
Executive Producers: JIA ZHANGKE, MASAYUKI MORI, REN ZHONGLUN
Associate Producers: KAZUMI KAWASHIRO, YUJI SADAI, LIU SHIYU, JIA BIN
Co-Producers: EVA LAM, QIAN JIANPING, GAO XIAOJIANG, ZHANG DONG
Cinematographer: YU LIKWAI
Editor: MATTHIEU LACLAU, LIN XUDONG
Music: LIM GIONG
Art Direction: LIU WEIXIN
Sound: HANG YANG
Cast: Xiao Yu (by ZHAO TAO), Dahai (by JIANG WU), Zhao San (by WANG BAOQIANG), Xiao Hui (by LUO LANSHAN)
Running time: 125 min / Color / 1:2.4 / 2013.

Jia Zhangke's A Touch of Sin (China & Japan, 2013).

Jia Zhangke’s A Touch of Sin (China & Japan, 2013).

Synopsis
A “brilliant exploration of violence and corruption in contemporary China” (Jon Frosch, The Atlantic), A TOUCH OF SIN was inspired by four shocking (and true) events that forced the world’s fastest growing economy into a period of self-examination.

Written and directed by master filmmaker Jia Zhangke (The World, Still Life), “one of the best and most important directors in the world” (Richard Brody, The New Yorker), this daring, poetic and grand-scale film focuses on four characters, each living in different provinces, who are driven to violent ends.

An angry miner, enraged by widespread corruption in his village, decides to take justice into his own hands. A rootless migrant discovers the infinite possibilities of owning a firearm. A young receptionist, who dates a married man and works at a local sauna, is pushed over the edge by an abusive client. And a young factory worker goes from one discouraging job to the next, only to face increasingly degrading circumstances.

DIRECTOR’S NOTE
This film is about four deaths, four incidents which actually happened in China in recent years: three murders and one suicide. These incidents are well-known to people throughout China. They happened in Shanxi, Chongqing, Hubei and Guangdong – that is, from the north to the south, spanning much of the country. I wanted to use these news reports to build a comprehensive portrait of life in contemporary China. China is still changing rapidly, in a way that makes the country look more prosperous than before. But many people face personal crises because of the uneven spread of wealth across the country and the vast disparities between the rich and the poor. Individual people can be stripped of their dignity at any time. Violence is increasing. It’s clear that resorting to violence is the quickest and most direct way that the weak can try to restore their lost dignity. For reasons I can’t fully explain, these four individuals and the incidents they were involved in remind me of King Hu’s martial arts films. I’ve drawn on inspiration from the martial arts genre to construct these present-day narratives.

Throughout the ages, the predicaments that individuals face have changed very little – just as their responses to those predicaments have also changed very little. I also see this as a film about the sometimes hidden connections between people, that make me want to question the way our society has evolved. In this “civilized” society that we have taken so long to evolve, what actually links one person with another?

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One Response to DIRECTOR’S NOTE on “A Touch of Sin”

  1. […] almost good” films; 2) Socially engaged and cinematically daring independent films such as A Touch of Sin and Lou Ye’s Blind Massage; 3) Big-name directors such as Zhang Yimou, John Woo, and Tsui […]

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