Friday, 22 November 2013
A Touch of Sin 
Chinese maestro Jia Zhang-ke has always been a dissenting political voice, and in the brutal, powerful, explosive and astounding hyperlink film A Touch of Sin, he focused on the dark underbelly of China’s so-called success story. Using 4 loosely connected stories he traversed a wide socio-economic spectrum, and ended each with at least one death, which clearly displayed his downbeat stance. In the 1st and best story, Dahai (Jiang Wu), increasingly angry about how the local boss has become insanely rich by selling a collective propoerty, suddenly goes off his fuse leading to an incredible sequence of unforgettable carnage; in the 2nd, Zhou (Wang Baoqiang), coldly and clinically commits murders before and after his trip to home at a small village, albeit for divergent reasons; in the 3rd, Xiao (Zhao Tao), receptionist at a massage parlour, is ambushed by the wife of the man she is having an affair with, and her tolerance limit is memorably crossed when two men keep badgering her with the assumption that money can buy her “services”; and in the 4th, a young boy skips town when he becomes financially liable for a factory accident, and when he falls for a girl who caters to the fantasies of the super-rich, his despair becomes total. Jia brilliantly punctuated the grim and serene realism with shocking violence, black humour, lacerating ironies and stylized moments, jarringly showed how inequitable growths invariably breeds violence and disillusionment. The scenes where Dahai roams around the streets with his shotgun, Xiao transforms into a martial-arts warrior, or the terrific opening where Zhou is held up by 3 robbers who are oblivious of who they are dealing with, are sure to leave one jolted and electrified.
p.s. Watched this as part of 2013 Kolkata International Film Festival (KFF)
Director: Jia Zhang-Ke
Genre: Drama/Hyperlink Film/Political Satire/Omnibus Film