A Touch of Sin
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A Touch of Sin bypasses China quota in Taiwan
By Stephen Cremin
Thu, 06 March 2014, 16:15 PM (HKT)
A Touch of Sin 天注定 will bypass the annual quota on Mainland films in Taiwan through the set up of a mini-festival around the film. The event opens tonight with a gala screening attended by director JIA Zhangke 賈樟柯 and actress ZHAO Tao 趙濤.
There will be 63 screenings of the film held across Taiwan, but primarily in the major cities of Taipei, Kaohsiung, Taichung and Tainan. Tonight's screening is at the newly reopened Lux Cinema in Taipei's Ximen district in its main 1000-seat auditorium.
James LIU 劉嘉明, head of the film's Taiwan distributor Joint Entertainment International Inc 佳映娛樂國際股份有限公司, told Film Business Asia, "A Touch of Sin is such an important film to Taiwan people to understand China, our neighbour. I am glad we have found a way to screen it."
Liu added, "We have bureaucracy [in Taiwan] but luckily we also have nice people [within it] who are willing to do the right thing." Non-profit organisations may hold special screenings for the purpose of cultural exchange. Eight organisations have partnered on the event.
Liu had failed to secure one of ten China film import quota slots for the film in mid-January, when it was randomly allotted 27th place out of 33 submissions at the Ministry of Culture. He flew out of Taipei that morning to meet with Jia in Beijing.
During the Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival 台北金馬影展 in November, Liu held a reception for the film that Jia was unable to fly in for. The director attended "virtually" over a live video link at the small gathering.
In December, Liu posted a request on Facebook asking that other distributors in Taiwan not submit any China-produced films for a quota slot until he had secured a guaranteed place for A Touch of Sin, arguing its cultural importance at the time.
Tonight's gala will be attended by Taiwan's Minister of Culture, former cultural critic LUNG Ying-tai 龍應台. It is hosted by Shih Ming-te (施明德), sometimes described as "Taiwan's Mandela", who spent 25 years in prison for his pro-democracy activities.
In Taipei, there are also screenings of Jia's Xiao Wu 小武 (1997) (aka Pickpocket), Platform 站台 (2000), Unknown Pleasures 任逍遙 (2002) and Still Life 三峽好人 (2006). The four films have previously shown at festivals in Taiwan.
A Touch of Sin will screen alongside KANO ＫＡＮＯ and an uncut Blue is the Warmest Color La vie d'Adèle at one of two venues in Taipei next week. Also releasing uncut tomorrow is Lars VON TRIER's Nymphomaniac: Volume 1.
A Touch of Sin is still awaiting a distribution license in China.