|S E A R C H D V D B e a v e r|
A Touch of Sin aka Tian zhu ding [Blu-ray]
(Zhangke Jia, 2013)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Xstream Pictures
Video:Kino Lorber / Arrow
Region: 'A'/ 'B' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Runtime: 2:09:55.996 / 2:09:45.166
Disc Size: 41,035,091,892 bytes / 46,703,701,200 bytes
Feature Size: 38,687,784,960 bytes / 33,232,754,688 bytes
Video Bitrate: 33.91 Mbps / 28.99 Mbps
Chapters: 12 / 12
Case: Standard Blu-ray case / Custom Case
Release date: April 8th, 2014/ January 29th, 2018
Aspect ratio: 2.40:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio Chinese 3760 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3760 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio Chinese 3414 kbps
5.1 / 48 kHz / 3414 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz /
1509 kbps / 24-bit)
English, none / English, none
• 4 Trailers (one for A Touch of Sin - 2:02)
Interview with director Jia
Zhangke by Tony Rayns (45:03)
Description: A brilliant exploration of violence and corruption in contemporary China; (Jon Frosch, The Atlantic), A TOUCH OF SIN was inspired by four shocking (and true) events that forced the world's fastest growing economy into a period of self-examination. Written and directed by master filmmaker Jia Zhangke (The World, Still Life) ;one of the best and most important directors in the world; (Richard Brody, The New Yorker), this daring, poetic and grand-scale film focuses on four characters, each living in different provinces, who are driven to violent ends.
The recipient of the Best Screenplay award at the 66th annual Cannes Film Festival, writer/director Jia Zhang Ke's four-part drama explores the corrosive effects of violence in contemporary China through the eyes of a disgruntled miner, a migrant worker returning home for the New Year, a receptionist who was assaulted by a wealthy client, and a frustrated factory.
For most viewers, though, the subtleties in Jia’s bob-and-weave
narrative will take second place to the blood and gore he puts up on the
screen. People are mad as hell in this film, and the protagonists in
each of its four sub-sets – a miner, a migrant worker, a receptionist at
a spa, a factory worker – are driven, by either despair or existential
recklessness, to commit acts of destruction against others and
A blistering fictionalized tale straight out of China, “A Touch of Sin” is at once monumental and human scale. A story of lives rocked by violence, it has the urgency of a screaming headline but one inscribed with visual lyricism, emotional weight and a belief in individual rights. You can feel the conviction of its director, Jia Zhang-ke — one of the few filmmakers of any nationality who weighs the impact of social and political shifts on people — in every shot. In “A Touch of Sin,” the world isn’t an amorphous backdrop, pretty scenery for private dramas, it is a stage on which men and women struggle to fulfill basic moral obligations, including recognizing one another’s humanity.Excerpt from Manohla Dargis at the NY Times located HERE
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
A Touch of Sin arrives on Blu-ray from Kino. The film was shot on HD (Arri Alexa) and it shows a bit of softness in-motion - as this production format frequently does. The more-than 2-hour film is housed on a dual-layered disc with a very high bitrate. Generally the image is excellent - colors are extremely vibrant and detail impressively tight. It shows the strong visual benefits of this versatile format. The aspect ratio is 2.4:1. Contrast exhibits healthy black levels. Daylight scenes are more impressive but there is no flaring or noise in the darker scenes. This Blu-ray frequently showcases depth and a pristinely clean and dynamic 1080P video presentation.
The Arrow, (presently part of their Three Films by Jia Zhangke boxset with 24 City, reviewed HERE and Mountains May Depart) has a lower bitrate. may be the exact same as their 2014 transfer, and is slightly lighter than the Kino. The Kino nudges ahead but it's not a deal-breaker. The Arrow looks fine in-motion supporting the film's strong visuals and occasional bright colors. It looks good but the Kino colors are richer.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
More Blu-ray Captures
A very strong audio transfer is provided - we get a DTS-HD Master 5.1 surround at a healthy 3760 kbps. The film has a lot of aggression and some gunplay but the lossless rendering easily handles exporting powerful depth and a few subtle separations. The score is by Giong Lim (Millennium Mambo, Goodbye South, Goodbye, 24 City) and definitely seems to benefit from the uncompressed track. I could fin no faults at all and the sound was frequently crisp with buoyant range and depth. There are optional English subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked disc.
My ears could detect no difference from the Kino - same DTS-HD Master 5.1 surround (24-bit) and is as flawless as you might expect for a new film. The Arrow also has optional subtitles (see sample above) but their Blu-ray disc is Region 'B'-locked.
Only some trailers - including one for A Touch of Sin. Certainly the film deserves some discussion.
The supplements is where Arrow definitively vault forward with a 3/4 hour interview with director Jia Zhangke by Tony Rayns a swell as a 1/4 hour introduction to Touch of Sin by Rayns. Zhangke is very approachable and these are excellent in appreciating the film. From Fenyang to the World is a 15-minute visual essay on Jia Zhangke, looking in particular at his style and evolution as a filmmaker, by Michael Berry (author of Speaking in Images: Interviews with Contemporary Chinese Filmmakers.) Lastly, on this disc is a trailer although the other discs have their own extras as well. The Three Films by Jia Zhangke package includes 24 City (2008), and Mountains May Depart (2015) and has a reversible sleeves featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Scott Saslow for all films and a, limited edition, booklet featuring new writing on the films by Chris Berry, Geoffrey Macnab, Jonathan Rosenbaum and Tony Rayns.
Kino - Region 'A' - Blu-ray
Arrow (Three Films by Jia Zhangke) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray
Despite the slight differences in video, the Arrow offers so much and we will review 24 City (2008), and Mountains May Depart (2015) soon. Fans of this phenomenal director will have a hard time avoiding this impressive package. Strongly recomended!
March 27th, 2014
January 28th, 2018