Jia Zhangke • China • 2013 • Four ordinary citizens driven to the brink of violence by capitalism.
A local boss runs a small village in China’s northern Shanxi province. He’s gotten rich selling collective property, and while most of the villagers look the other way, Dahai, a solitary coal miner, has decided he’s had enough. On the shores of the Yangtze River, when a man returns home, his family hardly seems pleased to see him. In the city, a sauna receptionist carries out an affair with a married man, while suffering abuse from one of her clients; a young factory worker goes from one discouraging job to the next, before sliding into a spiral of debt and despair.
A stunning examination of power and corruption inside the world’s fastest growing economy, A Touch of Sin urgently portrays the lives of four ordinary citizens driven to the brink of violence by the conditions of capitalism. Jia Zhangke’s seventh narrative feature premiered at Toronto, Rotterdam, Mar del Plata, and Cannes, where it won Best Screenplay. A Touch of Sin is a New York Times Critic’s Pick.