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For love or money?

Updated: 2013-04-17 09:16
By Raymond Zhou ( China Daily)

For love or money?

(From left) Hong Kong actors Patrick Keung, Louis Koo, Lam Ka Tung, Berg Ng and director Johnnie To Kei-Fung attend the gala premiere of the movie 'Drug War' in Hong Kong, China, April 9, 2013. [Photo/icpress]

But it can be argued that this character is not well fleshed out. There is little progress in his inner world until the sudden change in the finale. Likewise, the few women characters function mainly as wallflowers.

This brings us to To's flirtations with the romance genre.

In his prolific oeuvres, love stories have taken quite a few slots. While expertly crafted, they somehow lack a spirit that buoys this particular genre. When probed, To deferred to Ka-Fai Wai, his writing partner. It seems romance is not something close to his heart - the film genre, I mean.

Wine, on the other hand, is something To is passionate about. He is both a connoisseur and a collector. But he says he is not interested in making a movie like Sideways that exploits his hobby.

"Maybe in the future, when I'm inspired," he adds.

For those into parlaying the sources of To's artistic style, here is a list of movies that fascinated him in his formative years.

"I loved to watch action movies, especially Roman gladiators and American cowboys. Japanese samurais and Hong Kong martial arts were also my favorites. The filmmaker I love the most is Akira Kurosawa," To reveals.

Even though To is embraced mainly for his gangster flicks, his versatility and efficiency - with 50 movies under his directorial belt - have endowed him with the rare ability to adapt to a changing environment.

"Even if one of my arms is cut off, I can still function with what remains," he once said.

In 2011, To made Life Without Principle, a dark heist movie that is more drama than action. It was well received in the cineaste circle.

Maybe someday he will switch to this genre when his bloody shootouts are no longer in vogue or flatly banned.

He can probably make reading the telephone book pulsating.


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