Protégé

2007  |  Cantonese  |  35mm  |  Color  |  108min  |  Chinese Subtitle

Director: Derek Yee.Scriptwriter: Derek Yee.Cinematographer: Venus Keung.Editor: Kong Chi-leung.Art Director: Yee Chung-man, Kenneth Mak.Costume: William Fung.Music: Peter Kam.Sound: Kinson Tsang.Action: Chin Ka-lok

Cast: Andy Lau , Daniel Wu , Louis Koo, Zhang Jingchu

Producer: Peter Chan Ho-sun.Production: Film Unlimited Production.World Sales: WE Distribution

[Synopsis]

Every choice is a Devil’s Bargain. Should undercover cop Nick follow heroin dealer “Banker” on the path to criminal power and comfort, or should he use his position to bring down even bigger bosses? Should Nick help heroin-addicted single mother Jane find redemption, or should he obey his duty and leave her to her junkie husband? Crime and betrayal sharply intersect with personal and moral dilemmas in Derek Yee’s harrowing underworld drama.


Date:   21/4 (Friday)

Time:   7:30PM

Venue:   HK Science Museum Lecture Hall

Free admission for all screenings. Tickets are available to public on-site 30 minutes prior to each screening on a first-come, first served basis. Limit to one ticket per person.


[Interview]

Derek Yee’s One Nite in Mongkok from 2004 was based on stories provided by his friends in the police force. At the time, he also heard many tales about drug trafficking. After three years of development, he made Protege about the heroin trade with a star-studded cast. “If I were less curious, I couldn’t have made this film, because the drug trade is a mysterious industry.” Yee said the storyline kept changing and he brought in young screenwriters to co-write the script. Despite numerous problems from pre-production to actual shooting, Yee, who is also the screenwriter, still found it enjoyable. “The greatest fun was in developing some of the characters while doing the research.” The drug lord Lam Kun played by Andy Lau was the first to emerge. “Over the years, the drug lords who were arrested all kept a low profile. Even after completing the film, I still can’t understand their psyche. Since Hong Kong doesn’t have death penalty, why don’t they squander their money?” Undercover police officer Nick spends eight years by Lam Kun’s side until Lam falls ill and decides to hand over the business to his “protege.” The relationship between the two—brothers and enemies—constitutes the main plot. But the film only shows Nick’s dilemma without making a moral judgment. “I’m 49 years old, almost 50 now. I have no right to talk about right and wrong. But of course, no one would dare make a film that claims drugs are good.” When he was shooting in northern Thailand, Yee discovered that poppies were just like ordinary crops to local farmers. “They can’t survive if you make them grow vegetables. It’s about demand and supply. It’s not about right or wrong. Andy Lau in the film doesn’t think what he does is wrong. It just happens to be his job.” “I don’t think drugs will disappear. There can’t be such a pristine world. There is both good and evil, or the world won’t be in balance.” Yee doesn’t want to draw conclusions, but he is convinced that loneliness of the human soul is the origin of all evil. He’s not making excuses for drug addicts. He chose to portray the heroin trade because he wanted to show its destructive power.

Hong Kong Economic Times (January 30th, 2007)