Jia's violent new film at US festival

Updated: 2013-10-04 12:15

By Hu Haidan in New York (China Daily)

  Print Mail Large Medium  Small 分享按钮 0

Chinese director Jia Zhangke's new movie A Touch of Sin was screened twice at the 51st New York Film Festival, which runs from Sept 27 through Oct 13.

The film won best screenplay at Cannes and has garnered favorable comments within the New York City film establishment.

The festival introduced it as a "bloody, bitter film" that "finds the great Chinese filmmaker entering new genre territory, but retaining his commitment to the marginalized and oppressed".

A Touch of Sin portrays four parallel, overlapping stories: A young receptionist, who works at a local sauna and dates a married man and is pushed beyond her limits by an abusive client; a miner who cannot bear the corruption in his village anymore and decides to take the law into his own hands; a migrant who discovers the infinite possibilities of owning a firearm; and a Foxconn factory worker who goes from one discouraging job to the next.

Jia said he was inspired to write the script after reading news stories about the violent conflicts within modern Chinese society. All four tales are based on actual acts of violence.

Richard Lorber, president of Kino Lorber, the US distribution company for A Touch of Sin, hosted a party for Jia on Oct 1 to celebrate the film's release to the public on Oct 4.

At the event, Jia discussed his film and Chinese independent films in general with more than 50 critics and celebrities from the US film industry.

Jia said he thinks directors should discover their own motivations and perspectives and concentrate on digging into them. "Only if you (the director) are touched by your film can it resonate with an audience," he said.

"I am motivated and inspired to make films by the realities in contemporary China," he said. "My wish in making films is to emphasize the problems and difficulties the Chinese are facing in life."

As a child, Jia lived in traditional Chinese courtyard housing where eight or nine families shared one courtyard. They were all ordinary people, none of them privileged.

"I grew up in that environment and was part of it," Jia said. "I'm familiar with these people; it's only natural that I relate to them."

As one of the pioneers in Chinese independent film, Jia said he thinks independent film directors should not marginalize themselves.

"Independent film does not mean going against the industry," he said.

Independent filmmaking started in China in around 1990, but many of the films were not shown until around 2003, when censorship began to loosen up.

Jia said he is eager for his film to be shown to the Chinese public as the atmosphere for independent film is improving.

"Independent film is the most creative, most energetic and most connected to the Chinese people," he said. "I'd feel sad if these creative works were not allowed to have the impact on Chinese culture they can have."

Having not promoted his films in the international arena for almost three years now, Jia said he was excited to see that A Touch of Sin was popular among Chinese people overseas.

"In the past, most audiences were foreigners," he said. "I am happy to see so many Chinese in the audience of the US premiere."

Jia also said he enjoyed speaking with some of the overseas Chinese.

"There are quite a few from younger generations that showed up," he said. "When they discussed the film with me, I was deeply moved."

A Touch of Sin is Jia's seventh feature-length film. Next month, it will be released to the Chinese public, the first time for his productions.


(China Daily USA 10/04/2013 page11)