In August, as his controversial film “A Touch Of Sin” was receiving plaudits from around the world, Chinese director Jia Zhangke seemed confident that his countrymen would see the film. “The film has been approved by the censor board and we hope it will be released in autumn,” the celebrated filmmaker told the Globe and Mail.
Flash forward to today, however, and that doesn’t seem to have materialised.
Writing in The New York Times, Edward Wong reports that though the film was due to appear in Chinese theatres from November 9, it has yet to be shown. Jia himself told Wong that the situation was “complicated” and “sensitive,” and a leaked report from Communist Party’s Central Propaganda Bureau suggested Chinese journalists are being ordered to not write about the movie.
Why wouldn’t China want people to see a film that won plaudits around the world, including best script at Cannes Film Festival (where it was also touted as a possible “Golden Palm” winner)? The touchy subject matter seems to be a problem. Watch the trailer below to understand:
The film seems to be based on a number of real events in recent Chinese history, such as a 2009 case where a pedicurist killed a local official after he reportedly slapped her in the face with a wad of cash when she refused to sleep with him, and a notorious 2011 high-speed train accident that killed 40 people. Other parts of the film make references to the suicides at Foxconn factories.
As John Defore describes it in the Washington Post, the films deals with the “skyrocketing wealth in China and the desperation ordinary people feel to get their share of it.”
That’s a touchy subject for Chinese authorities, but it may also be why the film received substantial buzz from the Chinese public after a trailer was uploaded to Youku in the Summer.
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