Beast Cops

1998  |  Cantonese  |  35mm  |  Color  |  110 min  |  Chinese Subtitle

Director: Gordon Chan, Dante Lam.Scriptwriter: Chan Hing-kai, Gordon Chan.Cinematographer: Tony Cheung.Editor: Chan Ki-hop.Art Director: Alfred Yau.Music: T2.Action: Yuen TakCast: Anthony Wong, Michael Wong, Roy Cheung, Kathy Chau

Producer: John Chong, Gordon Chan.Production: People’s Production.World Sales: Media Asia Distribution

[Synopsis]

In post-handover Hong Kong, a pair of mismatched cops patrols a changing underworld, where dog-eat-dog warfare replaces the unspoken codes, and black and white obeisance of the law blurs into a muddy grey. Remarkable characterization and developed relationships highlight this unusual work, which offers humanity and bloody gangland violence in equal, excellent portions. In the service of a Hong Kong genre needing reinvention, Gordon Chan and Dante Lam have answered the call.


Date:   17/4 (Monday)

Time:   2:00PM

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]

In First Option, you don’t believe in the notion that there’s only one type of cop; you idealize different types. What you depict is a kind of spirit. On the contrary, Beast Cops is closer to reality. Why do you want to make another cop-and-young-hoodlum film when there are already so many?

It started out as a challenge. There were some people who didn’t believe I’d know how to make a triad film. For one thing, triad societies and I have no common language. That’s a major handicap. So I spent a lot of time hanging out with them. There are many Hong Kong films on triad societies, but they didn’t really understand the subject. Why has no one tried to deconstruct triad societies? Or the relationship between the triads and the police? Or between triads and society at large? We oversimplify things in film. We draw a very clear line between black and white. For example, even before we write a script, we’d decide whether the triads are good guys or bad guys. If they’re good, then the cops must be bad. Such simple categorization misses the point of delving into the nature of triad societies. But you can’t blame anyone. Every society deserves its people. If you want to change things you have to change the whole system. But should one just put them in a category and label them as “bad” and think this is the end of it? While conducting research, I met many of these young hoodlums—drug dealers, pimps and all sorts. The strange thing is sometimes they have more positive views than we do.

So that’s a way of life.

Yes. They always say they don’t want to hurt anyone, that there’s a bottom-line. I want to show in Beast Cops that we’re all human. The difference is the gray area where some people can accept while others reject. There are people you may consider weird, but when it boils down to right or wrong (as in black or white), there’s really a common humanity.

Interview with Gordon Chan, Hong Kong Panorama 97-98