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A Touch of Sin [Blu-ray] (2013)

Tian Zhu Ding , Jia Zhangke  |  Unrated |  Blu-ray
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Tian Zhu Ding
  • Directors: Jia Zhangke
  • Format: Blu-ray, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: Mandarin Chinese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Kino Lorber
  • DVD Release Date: April 8, 2014
  • Run Time: 133 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00H91LWBY
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #81,402 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Review

A blistering fictionalized tale straight out of China, A Touch of Sin is at once monumental and human scale. --Manohla Dargis, The New York Times

Jia s film remains a troubling, exhilarating epic of pugnacious surreality that s filled with jabbing questions and no simple answers. --Film Journal International

A bitter, brutal, often brilliant exploration of violence and corruption in contemporary China. --Jon Frosch, The Atlantic

Jia s film remains a troubling, exhilarating epic of pugnacious surreality that s filled with jabbing questions and no simple answers. --Film Journal International

A bitter, brutal, often brilliant exploration of violence and corruption in contemporary China. --Jon Frosch, The Atlantic

Product Description

A brilliant exploration of violence and corruption in contemporary China; (Jon Frosch, The Atlantic), A TOUCH OF SIN was inspired by four shocking (and true) events that forced the world's fastest growing economy into a period of self-examination.
Written and directed by master filmmaker Jia Zhangke (The World, Still Life);one of the best and most important directors in the world; (Richard Brody, The New Yorker), this daring, poetic and grand-scale film focuses on four characters, each living in different provinces, who are driven to violent ends.
An angry miner, enraged by widespread corruption in his village, decides to take justice into his own hands. A rootless migrant discovers the infinite possibilities of owning a firearm. A young receptionist, who dates a married man and works at a local sauna, is pushed beyond her limits by an abusive client. And a young factory worker goes from one discouraging job to the next, only to face increasingly degrading circumstances.

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Format:Blu-ray
*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The title of 'A Touch of Sin', Jia Zhangke's latest commentary on crime and corruption in Chinese society today, appears to have a double meaning. First the 'sins' in the title, refer to either the violent actions of the four protagonists Zhangke has culled from the headlines in modern day China today, or the ruling forces that led them to commit such violent acts. The word 'touch', of course is meant to be wholly ironic; as the violent acts themselves are way more than just a 'touch', and the level of violence (as Zhangke suggests) permeates the entire society.

But the title also refers to the 1971 Chinese epic action film, 'A Touch of Zen'. The 'Zen' narrative is written in the style of a Wuxia story, which roughly translates as 'Martial Hero'. Wuxia heroes often came from the lower social classes in ancient China and were bound by a code of chivalry that required them, according to Wikipedia, "to right wrongs, fight for righteousness, remove an oppressor, redress wrongs and bring retribution for past misdeeds."

The first of the four stories in 'A Touch of Sin', focuses on Dahai, a coal mining company employee, who is the former classmate of the corporate boss in a provincial town. Dahai, like a Wuxia hero, seeks to right wrongs and fight for righteousness, but ends up becoming unhinged, after confronting the boss, as he arrives at the local airport in his private jet. Dahai's main complaint is that the boss reneged on his offer of profit sharing to his employees. After suffering a humiliating public beat down by the boss' thugs and an attempt to buy him off after he's hospitalized, Dahai goes on a rampage and murders the boss' underlings as well as the boss himself.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Knocked My Socks Off! April 14, 2014
Format:DVD
A strong condemnation of what's become of China – capitalistically greedy and corrupt; industrialized, polluted, and insensitive to the needs of the working class.

Mao would have a really bad time relating to Chinese corporate executives with private jets. Not quite the people's revolution he had in mind.

Social commentary with a lethal dose of violence – not some empty-headed actioner.

You can only bend people so far before they snap.

Based on true events. Winner of the best screenplay at Cannes.

If you liked the episodic structure of Pulp Fiction, Chungking Express or Amores Perros, you'll be right at home here.

Fans of No Country For Old Men will undoubtedly enjoy the first of the film's four slightly interrelated episodes.

Excellent editing and direction, compelling stories, complex characters, good acting.

Adult drama. Definitely not for the Transformers, Twilight, chop-socky or rom/com set. Highly recommended.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A contemporary China Ukiyoe March 31, 2014
By An An
Format:Blu-ray
If you like Kitano Takeshi, if you want to have a glimpse of the real modern China outside Beijing and Shanghai. This is a perfect movie for you.
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2 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A hollow attempt at educated the uneducated… April 22, 2014
Format:DVD
Some films feel very important and feel as though they grasp at a deeper meaning but also feel as though they can’t possibly reach that meaning to a wider audience because their scope is limited to a specific environment. You watch these films with an open mind, but because you are so far removed from the subject it all washes over like broadly stroked portraits of events that mean one thing to us (Violence! Greed! Corruption!), but don’t truly mean to us what they mean to those who live in the midst of it. Yes, we all experience the universal effects of things such as violence and corruption, but a film that dwells on the immediate effect felt by the Chinese can’t possibly probe that same feeling in the hearts of an American man who has never set foot on Chinese soil or read up on their political history.

Unless it’s filmed with a sense of awareness of that fact.

Sadly, for me, ‘A Touch of Sin’ failed to make these cultural plights feel transcendent. Instead, this felt like a blanketed wall of ‘facts’ that don’t translate to an audience unfamiliar with the core. Watching the film, it was a very beautifully shot film that portrayed many fragments of ugly souls but it never felt like more than that.

People do bad things.

For me, this is the main reason why a film like ‘A Touch of Sin’ doesn’t really work. In stringing along these fragmented stories, the film doesn’t really touch down firmly on anything. These stories, on their own, can be compelling (especially the opening story regarding a miner fighting corruption) but they don’t exactly mesh together properly. The stories feel disjointed, connected only through very broad terms, but overall they just feel slapped together without any real reason.
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1 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Contemporary Chinese Drama Lost in Translation March 23, 2014
Format:DVD
I love foreign films. Especially Chinese. Anything involving Chow Yun-Fat or Bruce Lee is a staple in my movie collection. What caught my eye about Touch of Sin was the main actor featured on the DVD cover, Jiang Wu. I am a huge fan of his recent Chinese blockbuster crime caper, Let the Bullets Fly. It features enough action, comedy, and ingenious plot twists while remaining distinctly Chinese. Touch of Sin is very well made, but it fizzles and falls flat after transitioning from one character's story to another.

Many professional critics have noted that Touch of Sin uses stylized violence as a critical commentary on contemporary Chinese society. While I like over-the-top action in movies, Touch of Sin misses the mark. I fail to grasp how the director wants foreign audiences to view China. Is it the new Wild West where power struggles and neighborhood disputes are solved on the streets? Is China about to crack from overpopulation and a surging economy created to fill the government's coffers? I'm not sure what the sociopolitical meaning of this film is supposed to be. I can't view it as anything other than a violent drama that doesn't make sense.

Touch of Sin fails because its too Chinese. Foreign films meant to arouse strong emotions, like dramas and comedies, are sometimes lost in translation for audiences outside of the native country. Touch of Sin is one of these movies. The action and cinematography are great. The script and scenes interspersed in between these graphic events are not so appealing. Had Touch of Sin been filmed strictly as a stylized action movie, I would have probably liked it more. Otherwise, I cannot watch it past the first half.
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