Street smart

By Xu Fan ( China Daily ) Updated: 2016-09-29 07:00:00

Street smart

A still from Infernal Affairs

When local screens were dominated by movies from outside the city, Infernal Affairs topped the local box office by beating Hollywood blockbuster Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Zhang Yimou's Hero.

Alongside the franchise, another landmark moment symbolizing the gangster movies' rise was a series of hits produced by Milkyway Image, a studio founded by To and his partner Wai Ka-fai.

The anti-hero protagonists and avant-garde images realized a breakthrough for the genre in a lackluster market in the late 1990s.

Yang says the first motion picture shot in Hong Kong featured a policeman and a thief, making gangster movies the earliest genre there. Stealing A Roast Duck was a silent short film financed by American businessman Benjamin Bradsky in 1909.

Director Cheang Pou-soi, regarded by many as a successor of To, said at the festival opening earlier that the studio allows him to focus on his creative work.

"It is like going back home. You can put down all the stress and just shoot something that you really want to film," says Cheang, who has gained mainland recognition for The Monkey King franchise.

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