Thieves and Pirates: Beyond “Auteur” Cinema

Gina Marchetti

in Andrew Lau and Alan Mak's Infernal Affairs - The Trilogy

Published by Hong Kong University Press

Published in print April 2007 | ISBN: 9789622098015
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9789882206601 | DOI:
Thieves and Pirates: Beyond “Auteur” Cinema

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Infernal Affairs self-consciously reflects on its use of cliché. It also presents two types of film in one package. Director Andrew Lau contributes primarily to the visual design of the trilogy — its dramatic use of Hong Kong rooftops, its contrasting cool and warm colors, its organization of space on the streets and in office interiors. Co-director Alan Mak, as the co-screenwriter, takes on the task of storytelling and working with the ensemble cast on performance. Within postmodernity, the question of identity speaks to a global crisis, and the fate of two moles in Hong Kong captivates viewers whose “forgotten times” may have nothing to do with Greater China but everything to do with the decay of the patriarchy, transnational capitalism, and the crisis of the nation-state. As generic cycles echo the karmic cycles of Buddhism, “continuous hell” metamorphoses into the continuous dramatic, visual, and thematic revival of Hong Kong commercial cinema through the turn of the New Wave art house wheel of cinematic fate.

Keywords: Infernal Affairs; Hong Kong; New Wave; commercial cinema; Andrew Lau; Alan Mak; Buddhism; identity

Chapter.  4472 words. 

Subjects: Film

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