In two decades of moviemaking, China’s Jia Zhangke has examined the damage of his country’s explosive growth with a poetic sense of outrage. With his latest effort, the implied violence bubbles over.
“A Touch of Sin” is a blood-spattered film from a mild-mannered director, a disturbed and disturbing vision of a culture rapaciously feeding on itself. As if to underscore the despair, the movie’s four vignettes are taken from Chinese news items of recent years. They’re the stuff of tabloid headlines, yet “A Touch of Sin” lets the disasters play out against the backdrop of a larger cataclysm, that of a civilization where profit, “progress,” and government-sponsored upheaval have obliterated centuries-old social contracts. In their absence, Jia suggests, there’s nowhere to go but hell. Full story for BostonGlobe.com subscribers.