Asia and the Pacific Screens
A Better Tomorrow 英雄本色
5:00pm - 7:00pm
06 Apr 2016
The Auditorium, China in the World Building (188), Fellows Lane, ANU
1986, 95mins, Hong Kong
Directed by John Woo 吳宇森
Cantonese with English subtitles
Ho is a triad member trying to go clean to make amends with his father and his younger brother, Kit, who is a trainee police officer. Ho’s last ‘job’ in Taiwan turns out to be a trap, landing him in prison and leading to the murder of his father. Ho’s best friend and fellow gang member, Mark, vows to avenge his best friend’s betrayal. Three years on, Ho is released but struggles to leave his triad past behind, while his brother, now an aspiring police officer, is bent on the dangerous task of taking down Ho’s gang.
A Better Tomorrow is a testament to creative development based on a commercial premise. With no record in the action genre, little-known director John Woo was banking on his leads: Chow Yun-fat, known for romantic comedies, and Leslie Cheung, a Cantopop star, but unknown in the action genre. Despite being little advertised, it broke all box office records and redefined the genre. Originally based on the earlier Story of a Discharged Prisoner (1967), Woo turned the familiar gangster-redemption plot into an allegory of brotherhood, honour and the demise of ‘old fashioned’ values, while showcasing his city as a high-tech, international metropolis.
The screening will be followed by a short informal discussion.
This film is part of Asia and the Pacific Screens Season Five: Made in Hong Kong, presented by the Australian Centre on China in the World.