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Tian zhu ding
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A Touch of Sin (2013) More at IMDbPro »Tian zhu ding (original title)

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Zhangke Jia (screenplay)
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Release Date:
21 November 2013 (Italy) See more »
Four independent stories set in modern China about random acts of violence. | Add synopsis »
8 wins & 10 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Four independent stories failing to involve, and failing as social commentary too. Serves very well as guided tour through contemporary China See more (14 total) »


  (in credits order)
Wu Jiang ... Dahai

Baoqiang Wang ... Zhou San

Tao Zhao ... Xiao Yu
Lanshan Luo ... Xiao Hui
Jia-yi Zhang
Li Meng (as Vivien Li)
Lu Liu
Dong Han
Hongwei Wang
Qiang Wang
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Zhangke Jia ... (uncredited)

Directed by
Zhangke Jia 
Writing credits
Zhangke Jia (screenplay)

Produced by
Xiaojiang Gao .... co-producer
Shôzô Ichiyama .... producer (as Shozo Ichiyama)
Bin Jia .... associate producer
Zhangke Jia .... executive producer
Kazumi Kawashiro .... associate producer
Eva Lam .... co-producer
Shiyu Liu .... associate producer
Masayuki Mori .... executive producer
Jianping Qian .... co-producer
Zhong-lun Ren .... executive producer
Yuji Sadai .... associate producer
Dong Zhang .... co-producer
Original Music by
Giong Lim 
Cinematography by
Nelson Yu Lik-wai  (as Yu Likwai)
Film Editing by
Matthieu Laclau 
Xudong Lin 
Art Direction by
Weixin Liu 
Sound Department
Yang Zhang .... sound
Visual Effects by
Patrick Jarvis .... Digital Paint Dept. Supervisor: BaseFX
Fan Zhang .... compositor
Other crew
Jason Gray .... script translator: english (uncredited)

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Tian zhu ding" - China (original title)
See more »
133 min
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Cameo: [Zhangke Jia]in the third story as a patron of the brothel. He is shown walking down a hallway from behind talking on his cell phone and smoking a cigar. At the end of the shot he turns to survey the line of girls in the hallway.See more »
Movie Connections:
Features Exiled (2006)See more »


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14 out of 47 people found the following review useful.
Four independent stories failing to involve, and failing as social commentary too. Serves very well as guided tour through contemporary China, 16 October 2013
Author: JvH48 from Amersfoort, The Netherlands

I saw this film at the Ghent (Belgium) film festival 2013, where it was selected as part of the official Competition. Technically there was nothing wrong with it: shot beautifully, and acted splendidly. However, I could derive no underlying theme other than the under-achievers who were the respective main characters in the four loosely connected stories. Was there otherwise something in common, apart from the fact that all four stories ended in unmitigated violence?? The only shooting that was justified, occurred in the beginning of the story where one motor cyclist was threatened by three men armed with axes, but it was just an isolated incident without a preceding story to explain. All other shooters whose history we followed later on, may have considered themselves above the law, justified in killing around for a just cause. But I did not get their ulterior motives, at least not as being strong enough to arrive at what they did.

The festival website mentioned "underclass rage" as binding theme, but that is not sufficient for me. The stories in itself are well told and technically flawless, but one keeps wondering all the time what's the point in this bloodshed. It may be considered social commentary, but it lacks constructive ideas or novel insights. On the positive side, we from outside China get a fresh view on life in China as it is nowadays, giving us the chance to see that it does not look much different when looking from the outside. The landscapes and the cities could have been European or American, if we disregard the obvious fact that all the people there look Chinese. But I don't think a guided tour was the ultimate purpose of the film makers.

Speaking of Chinese looks: It was a nice touch that we were allowed to recognize the respective main characters throughout "their" story, this usually being rather difficult for us Europeans, having great problems telling Chinese (and Japanese, for that matter) apart; "they all look alike" is a common statement. In this movie we always had a particular distinguishing mark to assist us in following the main character. I'm not sure it was a deliberate setup by the film makers, to facilitate international distribution, but anyway it helped very much.

All in all, this film falls short in delivering the obviously intended message that some people cannot stand being ignored or neglected for too long a time, and thus are bound to eventually "explode" in some way. Another thing that also did not work out, was involving me in the main characters, who seemed to me coming from a different planet and acting illogically. On the other hand, we got a nice view on contemporary China, far away from the touristic sightseeing routes, a seldom chance that we otherwise don't get easily. Very well acted and shot as well. All things considered, I scored a 3 (average) for the audience award when leaving the theater. This film ranked 39th for the audience award, score 3.73 out of 5. And the international jury awarded it for "its musical choice and the combination of traditional and contemporary music".

ADDENDUM as of December 2013: I saw this movie twice by accident, while it was programmed as part of the Tiger Friends Preview Event prior to the 2014 International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR). Which movie would be screened during this event, was kept secret until the last minute. When it became clear what was about to happen, I did not run away however. It happened to me before that a repeated viewing worked very well to grasp things missed the first time. But alas, in this case it merely amplified my former conclusions. The only change in appreciation was that I liked the first story better than previously. On the other hand, knowing beforehand what was going to happen, the other three stories exposed more inconsistencies than I was aware of the first time. Anyway, the whole experience was not boring, and it still offers a nice view on contemporary China, but that is all there is.

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