[Movie] A Touch of Sin (2013)

  • Title: 天注定 (Heavenly Fate)
  • Directed by: Zhangke Jia
  • Cast: Sachie Wu Jiang, Baoqiang Wang, Tao Zhao, Lanshan Luo

A Touch of Sin” is the story of four loosely interconnected events and characters. Despite its violence, the film deals with the dark side of the fast-growing economy and the increasing gap between the wealthy and the poor.

The strength of the film comes from its directness of depicting the social conflicts and people’s actions in the fast-changing environment. 4 different people from different areas are driven into the violent ends. There is no comfort from inside or outside. Corruption is everywhere, and nobody cares about others.

The film shows the brutal physical violence, but the more gruesome shock comes from the mental violence from all social aspects: family, neighbors, factories, classes, gangs, and even bystanders. It seems too cruel to live in the environment.

Do you understand your sin?

from the movie

Morality is what the film is asking about. In the final scene, all viewers are asked, “Do you understand your sin?” Whose sin is it? Does my sin come solely from my mind or actions, or am I the result of the unavoidable flow of social currents?

The film magically transposes you into the mind of actors. You are angry with them and share the violent acts together. And in the scene of suicide, you scream with despair but acknowledge the impact of this horror. Jia’s stylistic portrait of modern China is asking us to answer. “Is it the only way?”

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