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A Touch of Sin [DVD]
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An angry miner revolts against the corruption of his village leaders.
A migrant worker at home for the New Year discovers the infinite possibilities a firearm can offer.
A pretty receptionist at a sauna is pushed to the limit when a rich client assaults her.
A young factory worker goes from job to job trying to improve his lot in life.
Four people, four different provinces. A reflection on contemporary China: that of an economic giant slowly being eroded by violence.
Mandarin/Cantonese with English subtitles
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Top Customer Reviews
The first story for me was possibly the strongest involving localised corruption, naked greed and all the trappings of needing to `save face'. We also have a nice dose of righteous retribution. Other stories involve a drifter, a brothel and also a fair bit of animal cruelty. There is not a lot on show here to advertise modern China as a must go to destination. That said it is very well acted, beautifully shot and clearly well directed. It runs to 130 minutes and I did feel it could have been shorter, but that might be just me. It is Cantonese, Mandarin and a bit of English with ok sub titles.
Hard to say I liked this one, there was so much nastiness and cruelty, but that was the point of the film and at time the observational quality of the film(s) makes it feel like a documentary and at others it is clearly contrived. So a mixed bag on offer here but still a worthy effort and if you like modern Chinese films then you could do a lot worse than this.
Jia Zhangke's work is based on 4 real life events, the Foxconn Suicides, the Zhou Kehua gun rampage (who possibly is still at large) the Deng Yujiao incident, and Hu Wenhai (an embittered miner fighting corruption), and to those who have spent considerable time in China, is certainly believeable.
As someone who has spoken to people from Shanxi province (a coalmining province in which part of the movie is set) and heard accounts of such corruption, the story portrayed in this film is relatively tame compared to reality.
My comparison of this movie to Pulp Fiction is a relatively shortsighted comparison, designed mainly to attract attention. The truth is, the only similarities are the ensemble nature of the film, and the gritty realities it deals with. Though Pulp Fiction is an undisputed classic, Jia Zhangke's film has a more realistic bent, and is very much it's own film, a work inspired by reality, not other film's preceding it.
A Touch of Sin is an absolute standout piece in modern Chinese cinema, and deserves to be world famous.
You cannot help but feel sorry for the Chinese poor who are living under the emerging rich elites as the country swings from communism to capitalism albeit still in a police state where the masses are controlled. The 3rd or 4th story for me was utterly heartbreaking: a young guy gets a job in an upscale brothel and falls for a female, pretty sex worker. They realise due to her profession any relationship would not work. Later he serves a patron some fruit and leaves the room, only to pass the young woman he fancied as she enters the room to give oral to the client.
Another scene towards the end was set in a massage parlour: a female receptionist refused a clients sexual advances from a corrupt official. He then proceeded to beat her for what seemed like ages shouting how he could buy. I found this scene really hard to watch.
You will need to concentrate on this but it's well worth a view - if only to show us there is another side to China beyond the glitz of Beijing, Hong Kong or Shanghai that westerners will experience.
The four stories interlock and there are many funny as well as moving and shocking moments.
A provocative film that underpins the Director as one of China's fine
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Interesting cinema. Chinese films are nice to watch, because they are very wall made, with a lot of computer effects incorporated into a story. Read morePublished 18 months ago by jack the tripper
EDIT: My original comments below were about what I thought was animal cruelty but wasn't. I'm just leaving this review up so people who saw the original review can see the... Read morePublished 22 months ago by J Oliver
actually 4 short films in one to become one two hour violent film. As is the characteristic of much great oriental cinema currently, it likes its space and breath.Published on 16 Feb. 2015 by James Koppert
A "friend" of mine chose this for us to go see at the cinema. I unfairly get the blame for the choice of this truly dreadful film. Read morePublished on 12 Feb. 2015 by Murray Keir
Terrible. A 'friend' invited me to see this at the cinema and I have never forgiven himPublished on 12 Feb. 2015 by Rosco
Saw this movie in a cinema here in New Zealand during a festival and had to get my hands on the blu ray. Fast paced and pulls no punches. A revelation.Published on 9 Jan. 2015 by Andy B
Brilliant Chinese drama featuring four stories. Don't expect laughs. Violently questions the nature of China's new found materialist society by showing its many drawbacks.Published on 8 Oct. 2014 by Marty Ray Catcher