A town in Fengjie county is gradually being demolished and flooded to make way for the Three Gorges Dam. A man and woman visit the town to locate their estranged spouses, and become witness to the societal changes.
Little pocket thief Wu never got away from the streets like his friends did. He realises that he is alone, as his old buddy doesn't invite him for his wedding. When he falls in love with a ... See full summary »
Change and a city in China. In Chengdu, factory 420 is being pulled down to make way for multi-story buildings with luxury flats. Scenes of factory operations, of the workforce, and of ... See full summary »
A cook living in Beijing, whose employment is coming to an end, plans to return home to his rural village for the New Year. He approaches several of his old friends, also working in the ... See full summary »
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 »
A lone gunman, fighting for justice in a world full of corruption, intent upon killing the main culprit and not backing down until he has done so. It sounds like something out of a John Ford western, but in fact it's the first of four stories in 'A Touch Of Sin'. This Chinese movie borrows quite a few themes from the classic westerns. Male dominance, for example, and a society lacking morality, but above all: violence as the ultimate solution.
For a Chinese film maker, this is a brave movie. It paints a very bleak picture of Chinese society, by tackling issues like corruption, crime, prostitution and the exploitation of workers in enormous factories. These are very sensitive issues in modern day China, but still this movie got the green light from the authorities and wasn't banned from Chinese cinemas.
But not every brave movie is a good one. The problem with 'A Touch Of Sin' is that it consists of four independent stories which differ a good deal in quality. The first one, with the lone gunman, is the best because it is a clear, focused story. Others are sometimes difficult to understand because they are too expansive and too long.
The common feature in each of the four stories is the violence. Director Zhangke Jia shows it in a very graphic way, reminiscent of crime movies from Hong Kong or Japan. The bullet holes and blood splattering seem a bit out of place in a film appealing to an art-house audience, but at the same time it gives this movie a nice nihilistic touch.
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