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Archive - 7th Five Flavours Film Festival

A Hero Never Dies

Chan sam ying hung
Hong Kong 1998, 86’
subtitles: Polish and English
director: Johnnie To
screenplay: Szeto Kam-yuen, Yau Nai-hoi
cinematography: Cheng Siu-keung
editing: Chan Chi-wai
music: Raymond Wong
cast: Leon Lai, Lau Ching-wan
language: Cantonese, Thai, English
colouration: colour

Awards and festivals

Hong Kong Film Critics Society Awards 1999 – najlepsza reżyseria; Udine Far East FF 1999 – nagroda publiczności

Film description

The first film directed by Johnnie To for his production company Milkyway, could be a proud addition to John Woo's filmography. It is thematically and stylistically immersed in "heroic bloodshed", a prevailing genre in the Hong Kong cinema of the 1980s.

Two triads fight a bloody war. Jack and Martin are the best soldiers, protecting their bosses and prepared to die for them. Despite standing on the opposing sides of the barricade, the men have a lot of mutual respect, maybe even fondness – it all comes to light in the legendary sequence of an extraordinary fight in the Saxophone Bar. But when their employers announce a truce, both men become redundant.

"A Hero never Dies" is not just a fiery action film, with meticulously designed gunfights, but also a reflection on the function of a film hero. To, strongly inspired by the classic films of Kurosawa and Sergio Leone, tells a pastiche story of loyalty and betrayal. The director also looks back to pay homage to the cinema which, in the new reality of postcolonial Hong Kong, no longer exists.

Marcin Krasnowolski

Johnnie To

Director, screenwriter, producer (born 1955), author of films belonging to many genres and styles, best known as the master of action cinema. Awarded at numerous festivals, a cult artist and a role model for filmmakers like Quentin Tarantino, appreciated for combining sharp social observations with dynamic image and unconventional narration.

Selected filmography:

1980 Bik seoi hon saan dyut meng gam / The Enigmatic Case
1989 Ah-long dik gu si / All About Ah-long
1995 Mou mei san taam / Loving You
1998 Bohater nie umiera nigdy / Chan sam ying hung / A Hero Never Dies
2001 Chuen jik sat sau / Fulltime Killer
2003 Daai zek lou / Running on Karma
2005 Wybór mafii / Hak se wui / Election
2007 Psychodetektyw / San taam / Mad Detective
2012 Kartel / Du zhan / Drug War

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