Ubisoft Presents Fantasia 2008

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Mad Detective

(Sun taam)
Sponsored by: Hong Kong Economic & Trade Office (Canada)

Montreal Premiere

WINNER: Best Screenplay, 2008 Asian Film Awards & 27th Hong Kong Film Awards

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"Un thriller ultraléché qui flirte avec le fantastique, doublé d'un humour noir de tous les instants" – METRO


Director: Johnnie To, Wai Ka-Fai
Screenplay: Wai Ka-Fai, Au Kin-Yee
Cast: Lau Ching-Wan, Andy On Chi-Kit, Gordon Lam Ka-Tung, Lam Suet, Kelly Lin
Producers: Johnnie To, John Chong
Distributor: Metropole Films


Policeman Ho’s first encounter with the brilliant but unhinged Inspector Bun is an intense one. He walks in on a room of his colleagues holding their breaths as they watch Bun apply his unique investigative style—imitating what’s been deduced as the killer’s movements at the moment of his crime, furiously plunging a knife into the suspended pig carcass substituted for the victim. Lurching about as though controlled like a puppet, Bun demands that Ho pack him in a suitcase and kick him down many flights of stairs. Bun emerges at the bottom, battered and bruised, with the spark of revelation in his eye. He’s solved the crime!

Soon thereafter, Bun is thrown off the force after presenting his own severed ear to his superior. Years later, though, Ho comes seeking Bun and his uncanny talents, to assist in a shady case involving two cops and a missing gun. Ho can only hold on for the ride as Bun follows his bizarre visions of people’s inner spirits—including the host of seven attached to their prime suspect!

Both of them master craftsman in their own right, titans of Hong Kong cinema, filmmakers Johnnie To and Wai Ka-Fai have a special alchemy when they work together—recall FULLTIME KILLER, the inimitable RUNNING ON KARMA and of course the delightfully uncharacteristic fairy tale WU YEN, with the late and dearly missed Anita Mui. With the psychological thriller MAD DETECTIVE, they’re back on familiar turf—sardonic yet sensitive film noir—but nonetheless bring an otherworldly twist to their tale. Key to pulling it off is a bravura performance by Lau Ching-wan (like To, a guest of Fantasia almost a decade ago!), who tackles the tortured Bun with gusto.

—Rupert Bottenberg