AKA: Tian Zhu Ding
Directed by: Jia Zhang-ke
Starring: Jiang Wu, Zhao Tao, Wang Baoqiang, Luo Lanshan
Country: China, Asian Cinema
Language: Mandarin, Cantonese (English subtitles)
Plot – Spoilers/Favorite Scenes:
A Touch of Sin is a modern Wuxia (martial arts) tale that was nominated for the Palme d’Or at Cannes and won the Best Screenplay award. It has 4 different storylines set around unique people who for the most part lead common-man lives. All the four narratives are based on real-life incidents from China.
Dahai is possibly one of the most interesting characters in modern cinema – someone who finds himself stuck in the past while everyone and everything around him is moving on. There is a strong sense of bitterness and frustration in himself at his inability to adequately change to suit his changing environment. This is something that surely can resonate with people across cultures and countries, particularly in current times.
This is a beautiful movie aesthetically, beginning with the ripe red tomatoes in the overturned truck lying still, to Zhou San’s son watching him carve an apple. There are small subtleties like Xiao Yu being hinted at as having martial art qualities when she is alert to the presence of a snake nearby, even before it emerges to cross her path.
If you live in a city, you will also probably identify with the come and go/high attrition type jobs that are quite deftly tackled here. A great movie to kick back and sink into a joyous mood of melancholy.