Festivals

Cannes Film Festival 2013: 16th May Reactions (‘Jeune et Jolie’, ‘The Bling Ring’, ‘The Congress’, ‘A Touch of Sin’, ‘Fruitvale Station’)

Sofia Coppola

Sofia Coppola

Day two of the festival, and there doesn’t appear to be a frontrunner for the Palme D’or just yet. Francois Ozon’s Jeune et Jolie screened to soft approval, as did Jia Zhangke’s A Touch of Sin. The critics were far more unified in their scepticism of Ari Folman’s sophomore feature The Congress, and even more so against Sofia Coppola’s The Bling Ring. Two duds and two passable entries, by my watch. Also, Fruitvale Station exists.

JEUNE ET JOLIE (OZON) REVIEWS

John Bleasdale, Cine-Vue

“Tellingly, Ozon’s beautifully-shot portrait of emptiness ends up itself feeling slightly on the vacuous side.”

Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

“Comedy is famously anathema to eroticism, but less solemnity and a lighter touch might have served Ozon better.”

Brad Brevet, Rope of Silicon

“Jeune et Jolie is a film made up entirely of questions, but questions that come as a result of a story that’s been manipulated so much I don’t feel it allows any answers, and certainly none you can definitively hang your hat on.”

Catherine Bray, Film4

“Yes, it’s young and beautiful – but it’s also smart, engaging and retains the ability to wrong-foot the audience delightfully right up to a delicious closing cameo from Ozon alumna Charlotte Rampling that almost risks gilding the lily.”

Robbie Collin, Daily Telegraph

“We leave the film without a solution, which is, of course, as it should be: this is sex we’re dealing with, not algebra.”

Leslie Felperin, Variety

“With economical brushstrokes, Ozon sketches a rogue’s gallery of clients; some are little twisted, some a little sad, but audiences expecting a violent, moralizing shoe to drop with a burst of violence are in for a disappointment”

Jake Howell, Movie City News

“The film wouldn’t work without the wonderful lead performance by model-actress Marina Vacth, her subtle intricacy and beguiling expressions moving beyond the archetypical ‘prostitute narrative.'”

David Jenkins, Little White Lies

“The problem is that the base material never feels more than polite and, on occasion, a little academic, and it’s flippant attitude to what it’s actually about – while nicely mirroring Vacth’s own incomprehensible motivations – ends up making it appear slight and, frankly, a little shallow.”

Eric Kohn, Indiewire

“Though undeniably intelligent, “Young and Beautiful” would lack a compelling center were it not for Vacth’s fascinatingly ambiguous turn, which shifts between aggressively seductive displays, reckless excitement and solemn regret.”

Matt Patches, Hollywood.com

“Knowing that François Ozon’s sensibilities stand outside Hollywood thinking, is there room for improvement for the Fifty Shades movie? Maybe we don’t even need one thanks to Jeune et Jolie, a sizzling, stark drama that finally does justice to early days of sexual hunger.”

David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter

“This aptly title latest film from Francois Ozon is both psychologically probing and unerringly elegant in its nonjudgmental restraint, driven by a transfixing performance from the incandescent Marine Vacth that will land her major exposure on the casting radar.”

Craig Skinner, Hey U Guys

“Despite issues with thematic concerns being so far in the foreground Jeune & Jolie is nonetheless an engaging character piece, with the excellent central performance of Vacth and some handsome and often understated cinematography from Pascal Marti being the main highlights.”

JEUNE ET JOLIE (OZON) TWEETS

Ryland Aldrich, Twitch Film

Ozon’s charming YOUNG & BEAUTIFUL deftly avoids the trap of sensationalism. Kind of French film I’d prbly only see at . Glad I did.

Raffi Asdourian, The Film Stage

Ozon’s obsession w/youthful beauty is on full-frontal display in ‘Jeune & Jolie’ a provocative yet bizarre coming of age tale.

Alex Billington, First Showing

Young & Beautiful – Bravo. Intimate, sensual but earnest story of young girl venturing into prostitution. Liked it for many reasons.

Catherine Bray, Film4

I really enjoyed the new Francois Ozon, Jeune et Jolie. Every time I thought ‘oh god, it’s one of THOSE’, it turned on a dime and wasn’t.

Brian Clark, Twitch

Young and Beautiful, well-observed, very interesting, would be more provocative if not for very mannered, very nu-french style

Robbie Collin, Daily Telegraph

Ozon’s Young & Beautiful is an authentically puzzling account of nascent sexuality. Loved that it withheld the answers.

Mark Cosgrove, Watershed

Ozon’s Jeune & Jolie is a thoughtful provocation about the power of female adolescent transformation and family secrets n lies

Jordan Cronk, Slant

YOUNG & BEAUTIFUL (F. Ozon): Structured like a thriller, laced w/ eroticism, comedy. Nothing revelatory–plenty to look at. B

Mike D’Angelo, The A.V. Club

Young & Beautiful (Ozon): 66. Character study of teen hooker inititally seems banal, but banality proves to be its secret weapon.

Peter Debruge, Variety

JEUNE ET JOLIE (François Ozon,2013), – 6/10

An impossibly beautiful lass takes up prostitution, while pop songs attempt to explicate why. Would’ve loved to see star Marine Vacth sing.

Willam Goss, MSN Movies

Young & Beautiful: 17-year-old girl turns tricks for kicks, then her family finds out. Ozon wavers between wry humor and melancholy.

Jamie Graham, TotalFilm

Marine Vacth mightily impressive as a 17-yr-old prostitute in Ozon’s Jeune Et Jolie. Lightly handled mix of moods

Glenn Heath Jr., Fandor

YOUNG & BEAUTIFUL (B): Youthful uncertainty seamlessly transforms into power by way of risky experimentation, Stunning lead perf

Jordan Hoffman, ScreenCrush

Ozon’s JEUNE ET JOLIE is infuriating/validating to varying streams of feminism, no doubt. I’d see both sides of that argument.

Jake Howell, Movie City News

Ozon’s JEUNE ET JOLIE is excellent; newcomer Vacth’s strong lead performance carries the film with beguiling beauty.

Peter Howell, Toronto Star

JEUNE ET JOLIE: Striking lead debut by Marina Vacth as teen prostitute seeking meaning thru sex; more layered than usual for Ozon.

David Jenkins, Little White Lies

YOUNG & BEAUTIFUL (Ozon) EMMANUELLE played as a socially concious teen angst drama. And every bit as dull as that sounds.

Robert Koehler, Film Journey

Ozon struggles to comprehend the (for him) inscrutable younger generation in his intermittently engaging JEUNE ET JOLIE

Eric Kohn, Indiewire

Ozon, in quieter mode, with alternately sweet & naughty YOUNG & BEAUTIFUL. Slight but anchored by strong lead performance.

Liam Lacey, Globe and Mail

Francois Ozon’s smart provocation, JEUNE ET JOLIE like Belle de Jour, The Schoolgirl Years.

Guy Lodge, Hit Fix

JEUNE ET JOLIE (B) ‘Serious’ Ozon in a minor key, most alluring for what it omits. Crisp, genuinely sexy, and not just when it’s about sex.

Kate Muir, The Times

Ozon’s Young and Beautiful missed a trick by not bringing in Catherine Deneuve in those final scenes.

Shaun Munro, Film School Rejects

Young and Beautiful – 3.5/5. Tonally balanced drama offers both emotionally resonant coming-of-age yarn and uproarious comedy

David Neary, Next Projection

Jeune et Jolie: Standard nympho-drama with a gorgeous gloss to it. Cast and character relationships are strong. Pure masturbatory male gaze.

Matt Patches, Hollywood.com

Francois Ozon’s Jeune & Jolie (Young & Beautiful) is a peculiar, erotic tragicomedy. Not quite successful, but risky.

Jonathan Romney, Screen Daily

Ozon’s JEUNE ET JOLIE – Vivre Sa Vie version 2013. Sleek, involving but Ozon at his most clinical.

Craig Skinner, Hey U Guys

JEUNE & JOLIET (C) Ozon gives a character who’d be at home in SITCOM but the filmmaking is more IN THE HOUSE. Lightweight but compelling.

Nigel M. Smith, Indiewire

Francois Ozon doesn’t disappoint with Jeune et Jolie. Protagonist remains an enigma throughout — why I kinda loved it.

Jason Solomons, The Observer

day 2 starts in rain. But new Ozon well worth early start. Jeune et Jolie gives its first new star: Marine Vacth

Fred Topel, Crave Online

JEUNE ET JOLIE was a beautiful film about dealing with dangerous sexuality.

Damon Wise, Empire

Teenage prostitution plus Ozon equals the so-so Jeune & Jolie; all right but somewhat aimless

THE CONGRESS (FOLMAN) REVIEWS

Xan Brooks, The Guardian

“Folman’s film is a queer fish indeed; the director’s equivalent of that difficult second album. The plot grinds its gears and tries on different hats. At times the metaphysical musings lead it wildly off track and deep into the rough, though there is always enough ambition and eccentricity to keep the journey interesting.”

Peter Debruge, Variety

“Apart from its general knock against ageism in Hollywood, “The Congress” doesn’t have much insight to offer on the subject. Meanwhile, somewhere in his adaptation, Folman lost the thread that connects this speculative-fiction allegory to our world.”

Tim Grierson, Paste

“This is a noble, wonderfully outlandish misfire whose very high points are only diminished by its very, very awkward and unconvincing moments. Lots of movies will be better this year than The Congress. But few will put on such a show.”

Dustin Jansick, Way Too Indie

“The Congress seems to be an obvious satire on movie studios but the film continues to keep exploring other plotlines along the way which makes it difficult to pinpoint exactly what message the film trying to get across.”

Ben Kenigsberg, RogerEbert.com

“As much as “The Congress” may seem like a departure from the harrowing “Waltz with Bashir” (an animated doc in which Folman grapples with his experiences during Israel’s 1982 Lebanon war), it’s similarly preoccupied with memory, distortions, and the importance of acknowledging reality when faced with a choice between delusion and the truth.”

Jessica Kiang, The Playlist

“We’re going to err a little on the former side because as messy and convoluted, as overwritten and overstuffed and overcooked as the whole thing is, it’s certainly unique and displays more boldness and giddiness than we expect to see from any other film in Cannes.”

Guy Lodge, HitFix

“It’s precisely as bonkers as it sounds, and at two hours, both wearisome and claustrophobic.”

Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter

“Initial viewer curiosity gives way to impatience and finally ennui in the film’s second half, spelling lukewarm commercial prospects for this commendable but shortfalling exploratory drama.”

Matt Patches, Hollywood.com

“How to describe The Congress? It’s like Paul Verhoeven’s RoboCop set in Hollywood. It’s like a Ralph Bakshi adaptation of Sardi’s wall art. It’s like The Matrix meets Who Framed Roger Rabbit meets Being John Malkovich meets Enter the Void. Basically, it’s wonderfully indescribable.”

THE CONGRESS (FOLMAN) TWEETS

Raffi Asdourian, The Film Stage

The Congress is a surreal hallucinatory experience about youth, cinema, dreams + death with some truly mind bending animation.

Alex Billington, First Showing

The Congress – A feast for the mind: visually, conceptually, thematically. One-of-a-kind half animated film with Robin Wright in the future.

William Goss, MSN Movies

The Congress: though animated half left me cold, commits to big ideas of identity and integrity; Robin Wright proves a mighty anchor

Tim Grierson, Screen Daily

Films that came to mind when watching THE CONGRESS: CLOUD ATLAS and MR NOBODY. All overreaching take-it-or-leave-it experiences

Aaron Hillis, Movie Maker Magazine

THE CONGRESS: Folman’s 2nd waltz funnier&wiser as live-action meditation on H’wood/aging than as maximalist WTF Bakshi anime-trash.

Jordan Hoffman, Screen Crush

What a year for innovation: THE CONGRESS joins UPSTREAM COLOR & ESCAPE FROM TOMORROW breaking new ground.

THE CONGRESS is bold and beautiful. Head’s reeling. Ari Folman is it.

Mark VD Klashorst, ICS Film

The Congress: philosophical waxing on acid, but with a sense of humor. Multiple viewings required, of possible on drugs.

Nick James, Sight & Sound

When possibilities are infinite, as in Ari Folman’s THE CONGRESS, nothing has any weight: highly inventive sentimental drivel

Eric Kohn, Indiewire

Folman’s THE CONGRESS is astounding. The ideas of WHAT MAKES SAMMY RUN by way of Ralph Bakshi & Naked Lunch.

Guy Lodge, Hitfix

THE CONGRESS is, like Mya’s love, like whoa. Dippy showbiz satire on Being Robin Wright works better than trippy Bakshi-Lem fever dream.

Matt Patches, Hollywood.com

Ari Folman’s The Congress is tremendous. Emotional sci-fi and sensory overload. Robin Wright: incredible in person & animated.

I’m kind of flipping out over The Congress. Its like someone cross-bred Verhoeven, Bakshi, and Gasper Noe.

Nigel M. Smith, Indiewire

The Congress… I need a sleep to process it. Angry, provoking, awe inspiring, baffling and a total mind f@ck.

Damon Wise, Empire

The Congress: hallucinatory and poetic; really quite moving. Robin Wright great. Again.

THE BLING RING (COPPOLA) REVIEWS

Mark Adams, Screen Daily

“It is all beautifully put together and the performances are all spot on, but there is a niggling sense that the film is an empty at the real-life Bling Ringers heads.”

Ryland Aldrich, Twitch Film

“What’s left is a straight forward dramatization of events that glorifies the results of the crimes while barely touching on their ramifications. Without characters worth engaging with, the audience’s only choice for entertainment is the pretty cool shit the kids are up to.”

Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

“There is something in her unjudging approach that is unexpectedly appropriate – and effective. It lets her get up close and personal to the story and characters, which conventional irony… wouldn’t get near.”

Brad Brevet, Rope of Silicon

Unfortunately Coppola didn’t put enough of her own stamp on the story to really propel it to greater heights as that is what I’ve come to desire from her work and what has really set her apart from many of her peers.

Cath Clarke, Time Out London

“…this is a funny, sarky, bang-on portrayal of the freakiness of celeb obsession. The story would sound outrageous – if it wasn’t true.”

Robbie Collin, Daily Telegraph

“Everything comes together for the good here: visuals, performances, raucous soundtrack, Coppola’s teasing flirtation with, yet ultimate lack of commitment to, some kind of concrete morality.”

Adam Cook & Daniel Kasman, MUBI Notebook

“All of her films are concerned with people in the spotlight and the malaise and alienation that comes with privileged living. Here though we have the other side of that coin: the spoiled “nobodies” who desire the very lifestyles Coppola has shown us are not desirable. So now we have a more complete picture of Coppola’s take on…not necessarily the American dream, but the hunger to be in the limelight.”

Jordan Cronk, Slant

“The problem when commenting on such selfish, shallow human beings and the arc they inevitably follow is the instinct on behalf of the artist to both romanticize and implicate their characters. Coppola doesn’t totally sidestep this tendency, though the involvement she offers the audience seems intentional.”

Scott Foundas, Variety

“Pic remains… poker-faced throughout, sustaining a tone pitched somewhere between satire and grudging admiration, rarely tipping its hand in either direction.”

William Goss, MSN Movies

“Even at its sharpest moments, this fleet film carries all the weight of a re-enactment (Paris Hilton, who has a cameo, allowed her own house to double for itself here) without proving to be any more incisive than the original events themselves were.”

Tim Grierson, Paste

“One could make the argument that The Bling Ring’s all-surface presentation is precisely the point. (It’s as if the movie was made by its star-obsessed nitwits.) But after playing it cool for most of the film, letting the blankness be its own somewhat obvious commentary, Coppola disappointingly feels the need to spell out her themes near the end, allowing the characters to become mouthpieces for the movie’s moral.”

Jake Howell, Movie City News

“If the film were a five-minute music video for one of the soundtrack’s many head-bobbers, it would probably be okay. But a feature this doesn’t make, especially given Coppola’s filmography and her played-out obsession with rich people and their ennui.”

Kevin Jagernauth, The Playlist

“Coppola wants to chastise a tabloid culture where almost anybody can become an instant celebrity, regardless of their accomplishments (or misdeeds), but it’s an easy target and when spun through a group of barely sketched characters, whose motivations are even thinner, it makes “The Bling Ring” a weightless experience, no matter how many hot tunes (the soundtrack is extensive and playlist ready) and gaudy baubles fill the screen”

David Jenkins, Little White Lies

“People don’t buy trinkets because they want a trinket, they want to experience the thrill of the transaction. Coppola’s greatest coup here is making it look as if both robbers and victims are guilty of the same lack of control and discrimination.”

Eric Kohn, Indiwire

“By observing their attraction to a bottomless scheme and then watching as various repercussions play out, Coppola presents a smart cross-examination of the impact of media exposure on fickle young minds.”

Guy Lodge, HitFix

“Sure to be misunderstood by some viewers who take its affectlessness at face value, “The Bling Ring” neither offers nor claims a direct line to the minds of its characters.”

Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter

“Perhaps even more here than in her other films, Coppola’s attitude toward her subject seems equivocal, uncertain; there is perhaps a smidgen of social commentary, but she seems far too at home in the world she depicts to offer a rewarding critique of it.”

Matt Mueller, Indiewire

“Not a failure by any stretch, but Coppola should have been in her wheelhouse with this one so it’s a shame not to see her firing on more cylinders.”

Shaun Munro, Film School Rejects

“The muted minimalism of Lost in Translation and Somewhere is rarely seen in The Bling Ring, an enticing enough premise that is nevertheless shot through with the bare minimum level of engagement by the esteemed director, despite a litany of committed performances.”

Matt Patches, Hollywood.com

“Gorgeously shot and sharp in its language, The Bling Ring is another 2013 entry that takes aim at the ridiculousness we’re capable of when “privilege” enters the picture.”

Craig Skinner, Hey U Guys

“If you hate the celebrity obsessions that seem to so often dominate popular culture you will probably raise a wry smile occasionally in The Bling Ring but mostly just find it to be filled with obvious observations and little insight. For those who are deep in that culture it will probably wash over them, allowing them to enjoy the thrill of the cameos and peeks inside Hilton’s actual house, without any of the consequences that the real life ‘Bling Ring’ had to deal with.”

Jeff Wells, Hollywood Elsewhere

“Coppola’s film is a lean, unpretentious, well-cut, vapidly glamorous crime flick that is so neutrally non-judgmental about the criminals… and so uninterested is getting inside the perpetrators’ hearts and heads that nothing is left, really, except the facts.”

Stephanie Zacharek, Village Voice

“I haven’t given up on Coppola—The Bling Ring must be a temporary stumble. But I get more youthful feeling, more casual pathos, off the overdressed, overly made-up young girls who show up so hopefully on the Croisette at red-carpet time. Their too-high shoes may be hard to walk in, but their dreams are easy to read.”

THE BLING RING (COPPOLA) TWEETS

Ryland Aldrich, Twitch Film

THE BLING RING is straight fwd dramatization that glorifies the kids to scary proportions w/o saying much. Likeable but little else.

Geoff Andrew, Sight & Sound

Sofia Coppola’s THE BLING RING often mirrors its subjects. But main frustration is the repetitive plotting. OMG another robbery!

Alex Billington, First Showing

The Bling Ring – Coppola’s simplistic materialistic excess PSA. Hollow characters, amateur acting, useless story. Wasted potential

John Bleasdale, Cine-Vue

The is a bit of a snorebore. A satire as vapid as its targets.

Jordan Cronk, Slant

THE BLING RING (S. Coppola): As a comment on our “sick fascination” w/ celebrity: intentionally hollow. As entertainment: ace. B

Mike D’Angelo, The A.V. Club

The Bling Ring (Coppola): 32. Two words: Who cares?

Peter Debruge, Variety

THE BLING RING (Sofia Coppola, 2013), – 5/10

Gone is the “what makes them tick” enigma of VIRGIN SUICIDES, replaced by a thin retelling that supplies nothing the headlines didn’t say.

Kenji Fujishima, In Review Online

I will say about THE BLING RING: Sofia Coppola does herself no favors by playing Frank Ocean’s “Super Rich Kids” over the end credits…

…which says in five minutes more or less what Coppola takes 90 intermittently engaging minutes to express.

William Goss, MSN Movies

The Bling Ring: such an esp. damning tale of Generation TMZ as-is that Sofia Coppola hardly has to do much with it, and hardly does

Jake Howell, Movie City News

Sure, it’s a satire – but which of THE BLING RING‘s many clichés and general script errors are actually intended?

Peter Howell, Toronto Star

THE BLING RING: OMG, it’s Lifestyles of the Vacant and Greedy! S. Coppola’s latest wobbles between fact, drama and satire.

Eric Kohn, Indiewire

BLING RING: Kinda silly, but also Coppola’s funniest movie and ironically the last ostentatious of them.

Kate Muir, The Times

I see The Bling Ring is getting a bit of a handbagging from the critics . It’s pretty vacant. But perhaps that’s the point.

Shaun Munro, Film School Rejects

The Bling Ring – 2.5/5. A vapid film about vapid people delivers a few satirical flourishes but ladels out themes too handily

David Neary, Diary of a Film Cricket

The Bling Ring: Entertaining almost-drama with amusing comic asides. Actors excuse themselves well, but it’s all as vapid as its subjects.

Michal Oleszczyk, RogerEbert.com

THE BLING RING 2/10 Commodity porn by Sofia & friends. Sanctimonious and bogus, should be titled Sofia’s Celebrity House Tour.

Matt Patches, Hollywood.com

The Bling Ring: Emma Watson is a riot, Israel Broussard’s a find, and the damning of celeb culture is pointed.

Jonathan Romney, Screen Daily

THE BLING RING: shiny and hollow as the name suggests.

Craig Skinner, Hey U Guys

THE BLING RING(D+) Good satire doesn’t need character’s explaining it in talking heads. Fun nonetheless but pretty thin & stylistically flat

Nigel M. Smith, Indiewire

Emma Watson doesn’t play the ring leader in The Bling Ring but she’s the clear standout among the cast with the most to do.

Jason Solomons, The Observer

Emma Watson pole dancing in cut-offs in Paris Hilton’s nightclub room – Bling Ring makes welcome change from broomstick handles

Neil Young, Jigsaw Lounge

THE BLING RING (Coppola ’13) 4/10. Flat, fangless ‘satire’ makes Spring Breakers look like Project X.

BLING RING – what was evidently a non-event of a “news” story becomes a non-event of a movie. S.Coppola’s still taken seriously by anyone?

FRUITVALE STATION (COOGLER) REVIEWS

Brad Brevet, Rope of Silicon

“This is a film that paints a picture filled with rage, fear and love in bright stripes, side-by-side and manages to go from one to the other in a heartbeat with tremendous effect thanks to a truly collaborative effort.”

Xan Brooks, The Guardian

“There are a few false notes along the way… but the robust acting and sharp sense of the Bay Area milieu glides us nicely over the film’s few soft patches.”

Simon Gallager, What Culture

“There are rather insistent creative choices, like the text message mechanic that superimposes them on the screen, and some of the narrative is a little repetitive to drive home the message, but all of the flaws feel like the unrestrained enthusiasm of a new talent finding his way through creation.”

FRUITVALE STATION (COOGLER) TWEETS

Raffi Asdourian, The Film Stage

Fruitvale Station despite being manipulative + full of awkward scenes, works quite effectively once all the pieces come together

John Bleasdale, Cine-Vue

Fruitvale Station lives up to the buzz. Moving and angry and humane

Mike D’Angelo, The A.V. Club

Fruitvale Station (Coogler): W/O. Because I was totally fine w/cops killing civilians until I saw what a super-nice guy the victim can be.

He loves his mama! He helps clueless white girls with their fish fry! He comforts symbolic mortally wounded dogs! He just stopped dealing!

William Goss, MSN Movies

Fruitvale Station: Michael B. Jordan’s charismatic performance & an ending as tense as it is inevitable barely trump tidy narrative.

Glenn Heath Jr., Fandor

FRUITVALE STATION (D+): Sure to be one of ‘s 11 offenses of 2013. Glaringly simplistic. Is Sundance irrelevant now?

Logan Hill, New York Times

Fruitvale Station, powered by 2 great leads, was important: slows down news cycle and forces you to concentrate on everyday tragedy.

David Jenkins, Little White Lies

So FRUITVALE STATION is tommyrot.

Shaun Munro, Film School Rejects

Fruitvale Station – 4/5. Occasionally strains for cosmic significance but mostly delivers a visceral, superbly acted drama 2012

A TOUCH OF SIN (JIA) REVIEWS

Alex Griffith, Next Projection

“As in all of his movies, China looms large in the background: half-abandoned factories, half-built airports, and the Yangtze, always the Yangze River. Jia has described himself as a surrealist, reflecting the smorgasbord of conflicting ideologies and cultures of his country.”

John Bleasdale, Cine-Vue

“Zhangke is as careful as ever to compose his shots with a genuine sense of beauty and, though we see the environmental degradation of the country, there’s still scope to witness the glorious beauty of his nation’s landscape.”

Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

“This is a bitter, jagged, disaffected drama, pessimistic about China, pessimistic about the whole world.”

Justin Chang, Variety

“As usual, Jia excels at finding the poetry in dislocation and decay; the strongest motif here is the sense of these itinerant workers continually and hopelessly on the move, often framed against crumbling ruins and construction zones as they wander in search of a reason to keep going.”

Robbie Collin, Daily Telegraph

“The horizon-stretching scenery, shimmeringly captured by cinematographer Yu Lik-Wai, will make you draw breath, in awe but also fear. In Jia’s film, China is cold and almost unnavigably vast; a place where sin may be the the only thing we have to keep us warm.”

Jordon Cronk, Slant

“Jia may have conceived and produced A Touch of Sin for and about his own people, but the thematic inquiries of his film remain universal, the extent of his ambition as limitless and provocative as it’s ever been.”

Marie-Pierre Duhamel, MUBI Notebook

“Murder and weapons have entered Jia’s world. But beyond any consideration upon “new” or “renewal,” Tian zhu ding appears so strongly rooted in a set of themes, characters and concerns that run through Jia’s filmography that its most striking beauties may well be in the consistency and strength of his film world.”

Fionnuala Halligan, Screen Daily

“Even as the repetitive messages of violence and dislocation come to lose some of their effect by the final frames, Jia’s outrage is the diving force that he musters to deliver a significant change in direction.”

Glenn Heath Jr., Press Play

“A Touch of Sin asks many questions but refuses to answer them, instead layering symbols, events, and repercussions from one story to the next. The end result is ambitious, disturbing, and kinetic, something akin to a modern day prophecy forewarning a plague of national rot and disillusionment already on its way to settling in forever.”

David Jenkins, Little White Lies

“Visually, Jia remains a master of the master shot, and he’s at his most instantly gratifying here when photographing his actors against grand, burnished panoramas. He has an incredible eye, not only in the way he’s able to spot the rich pictorial beauty of these crumbling landscapes, but in the clever juxtapositions that comes of placing his rogues gallery of murders, drifters and depressives against them.”

Daniel Kasman, MUBI Notebook

“Jia Zhangke’s unmistakable elegance of execution continues to belay the radical evolution of his pursuit of documentary tenants deep into the territory of fictional storytelling. A Touch of Sin, his title in Competition, is no different, experimental and despairing with a calm gracefulness which cleverly muffles its sharp blade.”

Jessica Kiang, The Playlist

“Ultimately “A Touch of Sin” a rather misshapen attempt to add drama and narrative intrigue to Jia’s stylistic repertoire, and the joins show too obviously for the result to be truly satisfying to his diehard fans, or to potential new recruits.”

Guy Lodge, Time Out London

“Every vignette… takes place in a different region of the country, each one more bleak and beautifully shot than the last. It’s travelogue cinema for the dissolute and gravely disenfranchised.”

David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter

“Despite solid performances and many haunting images, there’s a disappointing banality to the film overall. Either the Dahai or the Xiao Yu story might have benefited from more robust development to make a standalone drama. But incorporated into this too-diffuse examination of escalating violence in a recklessly modernized society, their impact is dulled.”

A TOUCH OF SIN (JIA) TWEETS

Ryland Aldrich, Twitch Film

Jia Zhang-ke’s A TOUCH OF SIN is an interesting look at modern China. Beautifully photo’ed but a bit too fragmented to fully engage.

Geoff Andrew, Sight & Sound

Jia Zhangke’s A TOUCH OF SIN a powerful quartet of loosely linked tales of power, money and violence in today’s China. Very fine

Robbie Collin, Daily Telegraph

Jia Zhangke’s A Touch Of Sin follows restless souls on the move through contemporary China, looking for work and peace

Jordan Cronk, Slant

A TOUCH OF SIN (Z. Jia) Four working class individuals pushed to/possessed by violence. Balls-out flourishes beget a new Jia. B+

Mike D’Angelo, The A.V. Club

A Touch of Sin (Jia): 59. Big chance of pace, 4-parter w/loads of explicit violence. Individual stories compel; juxtaposition a bit tract-y.

Kenji Fujishima, In Review Online

A TOUCH OF SIN (2013, Jia): THAT was unexpected. Brutally cynical even for him, but his sheer anger keeps it lively. I…like it?

William Goss, MSN Movies

A Touch of Sin: we get it – trickle-down economics bad, cathartic violence good. Like watching Paul Haggis’ Killing Them Softly.

Glenn Heath Jr., Press Play

I heart you Jia.

A TOUCH OF SIN (A-): Four wandering souls weathered by contradiction, broken by corruption, & possessed by weaponry. Beguiling.

Jake Howell, Movie City News

Jia, boy! Zhang-Ke’s A TOUCH OF SIN has only 1 dud of a chapter in its 4-way narrative. Other 3 range from great to decent.

Peter Howell, Toronto Star

A TOUCH OF SIN: Fists raised and pistols cocked in Jia Zhangke’s dystopic and throbbing take on modern China.

David Jenkins, Little White Lies

A TOUCH OF SIN (Jia) Hmm, well that was… different. 4 chapter shaggy dog death saga. Superficially mainstream, still v oblique

Liam Lacey, The Globe and Mail

Jia Zhang-ke’s scathing Touch of Sin: corruption, despair, prostitution suicide, no escape. How could the Chinese censors possibly object?

Guy Lodge, HitFix

The new Jia Zhangke is definitely a *new* Jia Zhangke. I don’t know yet if that’s a good or a bad thing.

Kate Muir, The Times

Jia Zhangke’s A Touch of Sin is my favourite so far: four wry parables that rip the lid off modern China, like a crazy documentary

Shaun Munro, Film School Rejects

Please tell me I’m not the only one who loathed A Touch of Sin

David Neary, Diary of a Film Cricket

A Touch of Sin: A grim quartet of tales shows how the new China breeds violence. The idea’s hammered home too hard, but it has great moments

Jonathan Romney, Screen Daily

Jia Zhang-ke’s A TOUCH OF SIN – the most involving of his films (for me)… 4 tales of money, violence and exploitation in the new China…

Jason Solomons, The Observer

so the Chinese film A Touch of Sin very good. ironic, strange, mosaic of modern China: violence, prostitution, suicide, cash

TOMORROW’S PRESS SCREENINGS:
The Past (Asghar Farhadi) – IN COMPETITION
Stranger by the Lake (Alain Guiraudie) – UN CERTAIN REGARD
Stop the Pounding Heart (Roberto Minervini) – SPECIAL SCREENING
Miele (Valeria Golino) – UN CERTAIN REGARD
Like Father, Like Son (Hirokazu Kore-eda) – IN COMPETITION

OTHER SCREENINGS:
The Selfish Giant (Clio Barnard) – DIRECTORS’ FORTNIGHT
Un Voyageur (Marcel Ophuls) – DIRECTORS’ FORTNIGHT
Ugly (Anurag Kashyap) – DIRECTORS’ FORTNIGHT
Le Demantelement (Sebastien Pilote) – CRITICS’ WEEK

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