Life Without Principle (Dyut Ming Gam), the new film by the contemporary maestro of Hong Kongese action cinema Johnnie To, will be presented in its world premiere in Competition at the upcoming 68th Venice International Film Festival (August 31st to September 10th) directed by Marco Müller and organized by la Biennale di Venezia, chaired by Paolo Baratta.
Life Without Principle is the 22nd film announced in the Competition section Venezia 68, to which a surprise film will be added.
Life Without Principle marks Johnnie To’s return in Competition at Venice four years after The Mad Detective (2007) and the earlier Exiled (2006, in Competition at the 63rd Mostra), and Throw Down (2004, Out of Competition at the 61st Mostra), among his most important and personal thrillers for which he is internationally acclaimed, and with which he has profoundly revitalized Hong Kong cinema.
Johnnie To has declared about this new highly anticipated film: “This is a turbulent world. In order to survive, people have no choice but play the game. No matter how hard you try to follow the rules, sooner or later, a part of you will be lost.”
Life Without Principle tells the story of three characters: an ordinary bank teller turned financial analyst is forced to sell high risk securities to her customers in order to meet her sales target; a small-time thug delves into the futures index hoping to earn easy money to post bail for a buddy in trouble with the law; a straight-arrow Police inspector, who has always enjoyed his middle income lifestyle, is suddenly desperate for money when his wife puts a down payment on a luxury flat she can’t afford and his dying father wants him to look after a young half-sister he never knew he had.
Three little people who are in dire need of money for the predicaments in their respective lives have nothing in common until a bag of stolen money worth $5m pops up and lands them in an intricate situation that forces them into making soul searching decisions about right and wrong and everything in between on the morality scale.
Life Without Principle, produced and directed by Johnnie To, stars Lau Ching Wan, Richie Jen, Denise Ho, with guest star Terence Yin. The director of photography is Cheng Siu Keung (HKSC), with production and costume design by Sukie Yip, edited by David Richardson, with a screenplay written by Au Kin Yee, Wong King Fai, and Milkyway Creative Team. Life Without Principle is presented by Media Asia Films, produced by Milkyway Image and distributed by Media Asia Distribution.
Johnnie To Kei-Fung started his career when he joined Television Broadcast Ltd. (TVB) in 1974 as a producer’s assistant. In 1977, he became a producer and director in the company’s drama division. Among his numerous television works, two of them won the New York International TV Festival Gold Award in year 1986, and 1989.
The Enigmatic Case (1979) was To’s directorial debut. In the ‘80s and the ‘90s he directed and produced over thirty feature films, which made him a reputable name in Hong Kong. International audience has been familiar with his style since his post-modern martial arts flick, The Heroic Trio (1993).
In 1993 To created Milkyway Image, where he Director and Producer a series of daring and innovative films such as The Longest Night (1998), Expect The Unexpected (1998), A Hero Never Dies (1998), Where A Good Man Goes (1999), Running Out Of Time (1999) and The Mission (1999).
After decades of dedicated filmmaking, To is versatile to produce an impressive back catalogue including a variety of genres, while internationally he is best known for his action and crime movies, such as The Mad Detective (2007), and Vengeance (2009), which have earned him acceptance in the cult circle and eventual critical respect in major film festivals. Sometimes described as “multifaceted and chameleonic” for his versatility of tones and genres between movies. In Sparrow (2008), To has demonstrated yet and again his ability of maintaining a consistent style, with a signature uncompromising high standard of narration, drama, and stylistic visual elements.