The second documentary feature by acclaimed director Jia Zhangke (Platform, The World) is a three-part, multi-angle reflection on China’s clothing industry. A group of women sits behind sewing machines in a fluorescent-lit garment factory and struggle to make it to the lunch hall through an inexplicably locked gate. A haut couture designer develops a new line, “Useless,” in response to her country’s recent record of bottom-line-motivated mass-production. And, in the rural province of Shanxi, a traditional tailor gives up his trade to become a miner. Their stories suggest a modern China in flux, struggling to close a series of ever-widening internal divisions: between its cities and its villages; its artists and its workers; its recent history and its distant past.
Jia Zhangke's new film A Touch of Sin is screening in the Main Slate of the 51st New York Film Festival.