This film, by director Jia Zhangke, is possibly one of the best of his career, but above all it is an indispensable film to help understand the moment China is living. The director traces a mosaic of stories that sketch the stark reality of Chinese development. A hard, beautiful and impacting film that shows the hidden violence that is generated in a society subjected to breakneck transformation.
The film is based on real events, which have taken over the front pages of the media. It tells four independent stories that weave together in a casual manner, creating a hard hitting mosaic of Chinese society. The stories take place in four different Chinese provinces and through them we journey, from north to south, through a country in constant flux. The story of a miner who rebels against the corruption that is rife in his village, taking justice into his own hands. The story of a chancer, used to relying on theft and murder, who returns to his village for New Year, to spend it with family. The story of a receptionist at a sauna that explodes when a rich client tries to abuse her and the story of a young workman who in the end can’t take the pressure of dehumanizing jobs.
Through these stories flow the consequences of the vertiginous Chinese development: corruption, exploitation, the alienation of workers, prostitution, social divisions… all of them exert unbearable pressure on the citizens, who sometimes have no other avenue but to adopt violence themselves in order to regain their dignity.
As is typical of non US cinema, A touch of violence is only being shown in two cinemas in Madrid; Cines Golem (Martín de los Heros, 14) and Yelmo Cines Ideal 3D (Doctor Cortezo, 6). Hasten to see it, if not, it’s a question of waiting for the DVD.