Hong Kong director calls markets "casino" in new movie

Fri Sep 9, 2011 12:02pm EDT
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By Mike Collett-White

VENICE, Italy (Reuters) - The world's stock markets are a casino in which everyone wants to, or has to, gamble in Johnnie To's latest drama "Life Without Principle" set amidst the recent financial turmoil.

The movie, one of 23 in the main competition at the Venice film festival, is the only one to deal with the hot topic, albeit with a big dose of comedy.

Life Without Principle follows three main characters who, for different reasons, get hit by a stock market crash in Hong Kong prompted by worries over Greek debt on the other side of the world.

The whole city, it seems, is playing the market like roulette, basing decisions on what they see as sound economic analysis, technical charts or just plain guesswork.

A hard-working cop, played by Richie Ren, finds financial pressures mounting as he and his wife put down a deposit on a new apartment and then risk losing their investment.

Panther (Ching Wan Lau) is a low-level mobster who robs a loan shark and bets the lot on stocks rising in a bid to raise cash to post his boss's bail.

Finally a bank employee (Denise Ho) becomes ever more aggressive in selling risky financial products to ordinary people in order to meet her targets and keep her job.

When a low-life loan shark, one of the few people who benefit from tumbling stocks, leaves behind five million Hong Kong dollars and is then killed in a robbery, she must decide whether to steal the money or give it back to the bank.   Continued...