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Sponsored by: Hong Kong Economic & Trade Office(Canada)
Hong kong 2008
- Cantonese/mandarin with English subtitles
WINNER: Prix Séquences, Fantasia Film Festival
Admission Ticket Network
“Happy and jazzy, loose but poised… almost a musical without any song and dance… one of [Johnnie To’s] best” – Daniel Kasman, THEAUTEURS.COM
Director: Johnnie To
Screenplay: Milkyway Creative Team, Chan Kin Chung, Fung Chih Chiang
Cast: Simon Yam, Kelly Lin, Lam Ka Tung, Lo Hoi Pang, Law Wing Cheong
Producers: Johnnie To, John Chong
Distributor: Universe Entertainment Ltd.
2008 | 4 min
Five Canadian dollars, five American dollars, five Hong Kong dollars. Select your currency and meet the “sparrows,” Cantonese slang for the professional pickpockets roving the dense streets of Hong Kong. To them, everybody is a walking ATM machine eligible for involuntary cash withdrawal. One day, a little bird lands in the humble abode of crew leader Kei (Simon Yam), suggesting a bad omen. While the pickpockets engage in their craft, the prophecy is fulfilled when they encounter the mysterious yet eloquent Chun Lei (Kelly Lin) who handily beats them at their own game. Lurking behind the scenes, though, is her sugar daddy Mr. Fu (Lo Hoi Pang), a veteran pickpocket who is keen on roping Kei’s crew into a riskier far form of sparrowing, where their fates depend on their fast hands.
Three years in the making, THE SPARROW sees director Johnnie To (EXILED, this year’s Fantasia entry MAD DETECTIVE) exceeding audience expectations. He’s taken his usual ingredients and shaken them up with vibrant new energy and stylish cool, and placed them in the smooth and intuitive world of the pickpocket. His famous gun-battle set pieces have been substituted with equally striking episodes of thievery where razors are the arsenal of offense, cutting through the taut 85-minute running time with pure cinematic pleasure. Each frame is deliciously captured in widescreen by To’s regular director of photography, Cheng Siu Keung, showcasing the romantic and cultural beauty of Hong Kong. This is To's most distinctive and personal work, with nods to THE THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR, PICKPOCKET and OLIVER TWIST. Xavier Jamaux and Fred Avril's jazzy score echoes the ’60s but maintains a contemporary flair. THE SPARROW is delightful from beginning to end, filled with twists and turns, carried with suave charisma by regular To lead Simon Yam (TRIANGLE, at Fantasia this year) and concluding with a truly amazing slow-motion showdown as two generations of pickpockets face off with umbrellas and razors in a heavy downpour. Get your wallet ready for Mr. To's latest adventure—before the sparrows whisk it away from you!