A Touch of Sin Reviews

  • Nov 22, 2017

    Chillingly relatable

    Chillingly relatable

  • Oct 27, 2017

    Not quite what I expected from director Zhangke Jia but perhaps even better because of that. I'd already seen Platform (2000) and The World (2004), which I recall as being character-driven realist dramas set in a China engaging with capitalism and all its problems. That theme continues here but Jia has drawn four violent "true crime" stories from the news and dramatized them with a startling "in your face" quality that seemed absent in the previous quieter features. The stories are interlinked by virtue of overlapping locations (and briefly glimpsed characters) but they don't really come together to create a gestalt. What they do share is the sense that China is now under the sway of a very powerful rich elite who exploit and subjugate those with lower status (particularly women, perhaps). It seems surprising that Jia was able to express these problems openly from Mainland China or perhaps criticism of the effects of capitalism is still in line with government views despite the cultural changes. Briefly, the events on display involve a man angry with his local village elder for selling out their community and taking bribes, a young man who freely uses a handgun for senseless violence (and to steal designer bags), a sauna receptionist who fends off businessmen demanding sex (with a martial arts wuxia styled attack), and another young man who is subjected to a number of low paying and degrading jobs (including in a brothel for rich elites) resulting in his total alienation. Physical violence is present in all the tales, often shockingly and graphically so, but documenting the moral and spiritual violence that is done to the main protagonists may be Jia's real aim. He also has a great eye for Chinese locales, frequently showing his characters as tiny figures dwarfed in the face of giant factories or desolate rural landscapes, powerless as they also are in society.

    Not quite what I expected from director Zhangke Jia but perhaps even better because of that. I'd already seen Platform (2000) and The World (2004), which I recall as being character-driven realist dramas set in a China engaging with capitalism and all its problems. That theme continues here but Jia has drawn four violent "true crime" stories from the news and dramatized them with a startling "in your face" quality that seemed absent in the previous quieter features. The stories are interlinked by virtue of overlapping locations (and briefly glimpsed characters) but they don't really come together to create a gestalt. What they do share is the sense that China is now under the sway of a very powerful rich elite who exploit and subjugate those with lower status (particularly women, perhaps). It seems surprising that Jia was able to express these problems openly from Mainland China or perhaps criticism of the effects of capitalism is still in line with government views despite the cultural changes. Briefly, the events on display involve a man angry with his local village elder for selling out their community and taking bribes, a young man who freely uses a handgun for senseless violence (and to steal designer bags), a sauna receptionist who fends off businessmen demanding sex (with a martial arts wuxia styled attack), and another young man who is subjected to a number of low paying and degrading jobs (including in a brothel for rich elites) resulting in his total alienation. Physical violence is present in all the tales, often shockingly and graphically so, but documenting the moral and spiritual violence that is done to the main protagonists may be Jia's real aim. He also has a great eye for Chinese locales, frequently showing his characters as tiny figures dwarfed in the face of giant factories or desolate rural landscapes, powerless as they also are in society.

  • Oct 19, 2017

    A harrowing, visually gorgeous reminder of what it's like to live life in a time where individuals are valued less than their wealthier counterparts.

    A harrowing, visually gorgeous reminder of what it's like to live life in a time where individuals are valued less than their wealthier counterparts.

  • Oct 12, 2017

    It is the best by Jia.

    It is the best by Jia.

  • Jul 05, 2017

    One of the series of pointless characters in "A Touch of Sin" says, "Shooting guns isn't boring," and that's apparently the mistaken theory of writer-director Jia Zhangke, as he portrays a succession of gratuitously violent scenes, which also include knifings, fist-fights, train collisions, a saw accident, and a jumping from a balcony. Even horses and ducks suffer needlessly. This is yet another data point, as if any were necessary, that a critical consensus in favor of a film can be drastically wrong.

    One of the series of pointless characters in "A Touch of Sin" says, "Shooting guns isn't boring," and that's apparently the mistaken theory of writer-director Jia Zhangke, as he portrays a succession of gratuitously violent scenes, which also include knifings, fist-fights, train collisions, a saw accident, and a jumping from a balcony. Even horses and ducks suffer needlessly. This is yet another data point, as if any were necessary, that a critical consensus in favor of a film can be drastically wrong.

  • Jun 17, 2017

    Four beautifully shot stories but the narrative drive is never there for me. After learning what inspired the film, it makes sense.

    Four beautifully shot stories but the narrative drive is never there for me. After learning what inspired the film, it makes sense.

  • Jun 10, 2017

    Not really about anything (that interested me)

    Not really about anything (that interested me)

  • Mar 05, 2017

    This is a portmanteau movie with four tales more or less welded together. Anyone thinking of watching should know it is extremely violent with very realistic portrayals. It also includes scenes of animal cruelty. It is not a consciously artist film but a sort of state of the nation report by someone shocked at the greed, corruption, exploitation and violence accompanying modernisation. The stories portrayed would have been known to a contemporary Chinese audience and each represents events which symbolise the experience of many Chinese people. The film was made just before the change of leadership of the country and many of the issues underpin current approaches to policy. The irony is the accompanying clampdown on freedom of expression means this type of film cannot now be made.

    This is a portmanteau movie with four tales more or less welded together. Anyone thinking of watching should know it is extremely violent with very realistic portrayals. It also includes scenes of animal cruelty. It is not a consciously artist film but a sort of state of the nation report by someone shocked at the greed, corruption, exploitation and violence accompanying modernisation. The stories portrayed would have been known to a contemporary Chinese audience and each represents events which symbolise the experience of many Chinese people. The film was made just before the change of leadership of the country and many of the issues underpin current approaches to policy. The irony is the accompanying clampdown on freedom of expression means this type of film cannot now be made.

  • Mar 21, 2016

    cinegeek.de "In interessanten Zeiten zu leben"; der Chinese benutzt die Wendung als Versprechen, aber auch als Fluch. Diese "interessanten Zeiten" sind hier und heute in der Geschichte des Landes. Zhangke Jia präsentiert sie uns in vier Vignetten, die allesamt von realen Ereignissen beeinflusst sind. Sie zeigen, was Chinas unheimliche Expansion mit der Mehrheit der Bevölkerung macht... Ein schöner Film ist das nicht geworden, aber ein fesselnder! Während die Partei- und Wirtschaftsbosse die neuen Reichtümer Chinas unter sich aufteilen, wird die riesige Mehrheit der Bevölkerung vom Wohlstand abgehängt. Wir erleben eine Reise durch China, von Bergarbeitersiedlungen zu Millionenstädten, vom Grossbahnhof zur Dorfstube, vom fahlen Licht der Fabriken und Hochhaussiedlungen in die neonbunten Strassen der Vergnügungsviertel. Besetzt mit promineten Schauspielern wie Zhao Tao als auch Laiendarstellern, ist A Touch Of Sin, anders als Zhangke Jias vorige Filme nicht still und auf den Alltag bezogen, sondern wütend: Ein Minenarbeiter will die Korruption der Bosse nicht länger hinnehmen und rennt mit dem Gewehr in der Hand gegen das System an. Die Dame am Empfang eines Massage-Salons wird von den Kunden gedemütigt und rastet aus. Ein Wanderarbeiter versucht um jeden Preis, seinen Anteil um Reichtum zu bekommen... Zhangke Jia filmt zurückhaltend, fast stoisch, um dann in exzessiver Gewalt auszubrechen. A Touch Of Sin wirkt wie ein Reisebericht voller Grausamkeit und dem Grundgedanken der Rache. Manchmal hätte ich gern etwas mehr Zeit mit einer der Figuren verbracht, aber das erlaubt die Inszenierung nicht, die sich als Übersicht über die Ereignisse versteht. Die Neonlichter, die überall, sogar in den Kleinstädten, das verdorbene Nachtleben symbolisieren, die Horden von Sex-Arbeitern in lächerlichen traditionellen Kostümen vor den Sex-Patronen (achte mal auf den Cameo Auftritt von Zhangke Jia!) - A Touch Of Sin sorgt dafür, dass man nie nach China reisen will! Spektakulärer Reichtum und scheinbar unendliches Wachstum, schreckliche Fabrik-Unfälle und ökologische Katastrophen. Die Expansion Chinas verlief so schnell, dass keine Zeit blieb für menschliche Aspekte (Zhangke Jia). Für mich war bereits nach wenigen Filmminuten klar: Blut wird fliessen! Dazu präsentieren wir die interessantesten modernen Filme aus China als Film List auf der Webpage unserer Videothek/Cinethek cinegeek.de

    cinegeek.de "In interessanten Zeiten zu leben"; der Chinese benutzt die Wendung als Versprechen, aber auch als Fluch. Diese "interessanten Zeiten" sind hier und heute in der Geschichte des Landes. Zhangke Jia präsentiert sie uns in vier Vignetten, die allesamt von realen Ereignissen beeinflusst sind. Sie zeigen, was Chinas unheimliche Expansion mit der Mehrheit der Bevölkerung macht... Ein schöner Film ist das nicht geworden, aber ein fesselnder! Während die Partei- und Wirtschaftsbosse die neuen Reichtümer Chinas unter sich aufteilen, wird die riesige Mehrheit der Bevölkerung vom Wohlstand abgehängt. Wir erleben eine Reise durch China, von Bergarbeitersiedlungen zu Millionenstädten, vom Grossbahnhof zur Dorfstube, vom fahlen Licht der Fabriken und Hochhaussiedlungen in die neonbunten Strassen der Vergnügungsviertel. Besetzt mit promineten Schauspielern wie Zhao Tao als auch Laiendarstellern, ist A Touch Of Sin, anders als Zhangke Jias vorige Filme nicht still und auf den Alltag bezogen, sondern wütend: Ein Minenarbeiter will die Korruption der Bosse nicht länger hinnehmen und rennt mit dem Gewehr in der Hand gegen das System an. Die Dame am Empfang eines Massage-Salons wird von den Kunden gedemütigt und rastet aus. Ein Wanderarbeiter versucht um jeden Preis, seinen Anteil um Reichtum zu bekommen... Zhangke Jia filmt zurückhaltend, fast stoisch, um dann in exzessiver Gewalt auszubrechen. A Touch Of Sin wirkt wie ein Reisebericht voller Grausamkeit und dem Grundgedanken der Rache. Manchmal hätte ich gern etwas mehr Zeit mit einer der Figuren verbracht, aber das erlaubt die Inszenierung nicht, die sich als Übersicht über die Ereignisse versteht. Die Neonlichter, die überall, sogar in den Kleinstädten, das verdorbene Nachtleben symbolisieren, die Horden von Sex-Arbeitern in lächerlichen traditionellen Kostümen vor den Sex-Patronen (achte mal auf den Cameo Auftritt von Zhangke Jia!) - A Touch Of Sin sorgt dafür, dass man nie nach China reisen will! Spektakulärer Reichtum und scheinbar unendliches Wachstum, schreckliche Fabrik-Unfälle und ökologische Katastrophen. Die Expansion Chinas verlief so schnell, dass keine Zeit blieb für menschliche Aspekte (Zhangke Jia). Für mich war bereits nach wenigen Filmminuten klar: Blut wird fliessen! Dazu präsentieren wir die interessantesten modernen Filme aus China als Film List auf der Webpage unserer Videothek/Cinethek cinegeek.de

  • Dec 13, 2015

    "A Touch of Sin" is a touch too bitter, bleak, and lengthy to be truly compelling, but the message Zhangke showcases here is a powerful one and a necessary one.

    "A Touch of Sin" is a touch too bitter, bleak, and lengthy to be truly compelling, but the message Zhangke showcases here is a powerful one and a necessary one.