Saturday, September 7, 2013

Jia Zhang-ke's new film "A Touch of Sin" at NY Film Festival & IFC: Sept 28 - Oct 31

Probably the most important director in contemporary Chinese cinema, Jia Zhang-Ke, even as far back in his career as 2003, when Senses of Cinema dedicated one of their Great Directors features to him it was apparent that there was a challenging, controversial, deeply humanistic artistic vision at work. His earliest recognition coming from his first feature "The Pickpocket" and the  following "Platform" and "Unknown Pleasures" spanning the years 1998-2002. It was his examination of Globalization and China's absorption of western consumer and entertainment values in 2004's "The World" that he gained attention outside the European cinema festivals, becoming a internationally recognized filmmaking force, one that strode a very precarious balance with China's censorship and state-run cinema funding. So that much more startling then, that when his next film set within the otherworldly landscape of the Three Gorges Damn Project was about lives changed, homes lost, cultural legacy literally being washed away, in 2007's masterwork "Still Life" not only winning him top prize at the Berlin and Venice Film Festivals, but earning praise from China's vice-President, Xi Jinping. With Jia's own commentary on the current state of his country in the pages of the Guardian UK, "China Must End Silence on Injustice, warns film director Jia Zhangke" on the growing wealth inequality, worker exploitation, eroding social cohesion and in response the growing backlash of mass protest, worker suicides, public violence, labor riots, upheaval in response to for-profit land seizures and the growing extremity of corruption of state and local officials in "A Touch of Sin". Which has it's US premier at this month's New York Film Festival and opens for a theatrical run the following week at IFC.  Jia's depiction of China's growing occurrences of explosive violence in response to social injustice explored in Tony Rayns' "A Touch of Sin: New China’s Loss of Social Cohesion Leads to Violence" for Film Comment and Edward Wong's profile for the New York Times, "Filmmaker Giving Voice to Acts of Rage in Today’s China".