‘Into the Perilous Night’ — Police and Gangsters in the Hong Kong Mean Streets

Michael Ingham

in Johnnie To Kei-Fung's PTU

Published by Hong Kong University Press

Published in print March 2009 | ISBN: 9789622099197
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9789882207103 | DOI:
‘Into the Perilous Night’ — Police and Gangsters in the Hong Kong Mean Streets

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This chapter focuses on the issue of location and film space. It contextualizes the film PTU by discussing it in relation to its portrayal of Tsim Sha Tsui, the putative setting for the entire movie. Tsim Sha Tsui is in many ways a metonym for the wider Hong Kong community, but careful attention is given in the film to constructing a sense of locale. Talking of a division of the film into seven major scenes and the use of highly impressionistic stage-type lighting, To refers to the choice of quasitheatrical perspectives in shot choice, which helped to create the distanced theatrical effect by contrast with the emotional closeness of the average movie. The locus of the narrative events is more of a significant player than the specific locations used in most Hong Kong films.

Keywords: Hong Kong; film space; PTU; Tsim Sha Tsui; impressionistic lighting; theatrical effect

Chapter.  9087 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Film

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