“A Touch of Sin” writer-director Zhangke Jia talks with Variety’s Steve Gaydos at The Variety Studio: Cannes Edition at Chivas House, presented by Chivas Brothers and sponsored by HP.

“The common theme [in my early films] is how the common peoples’ lives change in a rapidly changing China,” he says, saying he wanted to focus on contemporary China again with “A Touch of Sin” “because there has been so much violence going on.”

Variety film critic Justin Chang says that “A Touch of Sin” is “[n]ot exactly your grandmother’s Jia Zhangke movie” and that it “marks an arresting but unpersuasive change of pace for a filmmaker hitherto lauded for his placid, perceptive snapshots of contemporary China (“Still Life,” “The World”).”