Standard: HKD 85
Concession: HKD 68
Infernal Affairs broke box office records and dominated headlines after its release at the end of 2002. It rekindled hope for the resurgence of the Hong Kong film industry and soon became synonymous with stories that portrayed undercovers—a common device in Hong Kong genre films. Infernal Affairs reimagined the definition of undercover films with a symmetrical plot structure where a member of the police infiltrates the criminal gang, while a triad mole rises in the police ranks. The game of chess doubles in pressure and complexity.
Departing from other similar plotlines, the film favours psychological suspense and internal turmoil over ballistic action. It is intricate in its plotting but spare in its mise-en-scène, with subtle lead performances by Andy Lau and Tony Leung. Infernal Affairs signifies a paradigm shift for the undercover genre in every aspect—becoming the first Hong Kong production to be remade into a Hollywood studio film.
The screening on 28 January will be followed by a talk in Cantonese with the co-director of Infernal Affairs Alan Mak, who will speak about the influence of Face/Off on his film. The talk will be moderated by M+ Curator of Hong Kong Film and Media Li Cheuk-to. Simultaneous interpretation in English will be available.
About the Directors
Andrew Lau (b. 1960, Hong Kong) is a prolific director, producer and cinematographer. He received his training as a cinematographer in Shaw Brothers Studio in his early twenties and amazed his peers with his visually astonishing night scenes and handheld shots in City on Fire (1987) and As Tears Go By (1988). Lau stepped up to the director’s chair and helmed Against All in 1990. He reached another peak in his career in 1995 when he co-founded BoB & Partners with Wong Jing and Manfred Wong and kickstarted the successful Young and Dangerous (1996) franchise. After the computer graphics-heavy box office hits The Storm Riders (1998) and A Man Called Hero (1999), Lau started up his own production company Basic Pictures with the hugely successful Infernal Affairs in 2002. He has turned to co-productions with mainland China as director and producer since 2009, after a brief stint shooting the Korean film Daisy (2006) in the Netherlands and The Flock (2007) in Hollywood.
Alan Mak (b. 1965, Hong Kong) is a director, scriptwriter and producer. Upon graduation from the School of Drama in the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts in 1990, he worked as an assistant director before making his directorial debut Nude Fear (1998). He met Andrew Lau as cinematographer in the shooting of Wicked City (1992). The directing duo continued with two more hits Initial D (2005) and Confession of Pain (2006) after the Infernal Affairs trilogy. Similarly, Mak continued to share writing and directing credits with Felix Chong after the trilogy and their most successful collaborations are Overheard (2009), Overheard 2 (2011) and Overheard 3 (2014).
Image at top: Andrew Lau and Alan Mak. Infernal Affairs, 2002. Photo: Courtesy of Media Asia Distribution (HK) Limited