Long Arm of the Law

(Sheng gang qi bing)
(Hong Kong, 1984, 105 mins, Blu-ray Disc)
In Cantonese with English subtitles
CAST Lam Wai, Wong Kin, Kong Lung, Chang King, Fong Lit
Screening in tandem with House of Bamboo in the program "Foreign Spoils / Gangsters Abroad

Curated by photographer Greg Girard, who will introduce the films: House of Bamboo & Long Arm of the Law The Walled City of Kowloon was an amazing and forbidding part of Hong Kong, and who better to introduce these films in which it features so centrally than photographer Greg Girard, whose book City of Darkness: Life in Kowloon Walled City is itself now legendary.

LONG ARM OF THE LAW In the early 1980’s, Hong Kong’s rapid economic development and Mainland China’s new open policy made the city a new land of opportunity for its neighbours up north. This critically acclaimed crime thriller follows a group of opportunists from China - ex army men - looking to strike riches in Hong Kong, only to experience culture shock and betrayals that will lead to their downfall.

Director Johnny Mak captures the chase between the police and the robbers with terrifying realism, enhancing the impact of the action scenes to beyond simple escapism. Nearly 30 years later, the explosive climatic standoff in the Kowloon Walled City remains one of the best finales in Hong Kong cinema history and serves as an important historical record of a landmark lost to modernity. In addition to two Hong Kong Film Awards and two Golden Horse awards (including Best Director), Long Arm of the Law is often recognised as one of the best Hong Kong films ever made - in fact when the Hong Kong Film Festival compiled a list of the 100 best Chinese films ever made back in 2005, Long Arm of the Law ranked sixth.

Presenter: Greg Girard is one of the most accomplished photographers working anywhere today. Greg left Vancouver to explore Asia as a young man in the early 70’s, spending much of his career living in Tokyo, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and travelling very extensively throughout the region from Afghanistan during the Soviet war to present day Bhutan. His work examines the social and physical transformations taking place throughout the region, often on the front lines of conflict and economic and social upheaval.

He is represented by Monte Clark Gallery (Vancouver/Toronto) and also works on assignment for publications such as National Geographic Magazine.