ASIAN FILM - Article
11:03 - 5th August 2014, by David West

A Touch Of Rage

Jia Zhangke is a man living in tumultuous times, but he’s not afraid to confront the challenges facing China through his art. David West meets the man behind A Touch Of Sin.

Jia Zhangke’s reputation as a filmmaker was built on contemplative, meditative films, often blending fiction and documentary, exploring the huge social and economic changes transforming China. But A Touch Of Sin has stunned fans and critics alike as Jia makes his first foray into genre filmmaking. Inspired by real events, the film is composed of four stories that cast a scathing eye over the state of civil life in modern China. Dahai (Wu Jiang) is an angry former miner who believes that profits from the privatisation of the town’s mine have all gone into the pockets of the fabulously wealthy Jiao. Zhou San (Wang Baoqiang) is a drifter who commits armed robberies less for the money and more for the sheer thrill of it. Xiaoyu (Zhao Tao) works as a receptionist in a massage parlour / brothel and has been having an affair with a married man. Lastly, Xiaohui (Luo Lanshan) bounces from one job to the next, trying to find some meaning in his life.

Each story is punctuated by scenes of shocking violence which, combined with the pervasive sense of alienation, bring to mind the films of Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni. “I’ve noticed these outbursts of violence since I was a child,” says director Jia. “Their suddenness is based in reality; most incidents of violence happen without warning. I’m a great fan of Antonioni’s films, but I’m mainly inspired by his treatment of space and time.”

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