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'Life Without Principle' Chosen as Hong Kong's Foreign Oscar Entry

Director Johnnie To’s "Life Without Principle" is chosen to represent Hong Kong as the candidate for the 85th Academy Awards best foreign-language film.

HONG KONG – Director Johnnie To’s Life Without Principle is chosen to represent Hong Kong as the candidate for the 85th Academy Awards best foreign-language film.

The selection was made and announced by the Hong Kong Federation of Motion Film Producers.

Starring frequent To collaborator Sean Lau Ching-wan (The Mission, Mad Detective), comedian Lo Hoi-pang and character actress So Hang-Shuen, the latter two television veterans that nabbed wins in the best supporting acting categories in the 2012 Hong Kong Film Awards, the Media Asia film is a darkly comic take on financial opportunism from a grass roots level. 

Premiered internationally and in competition at the 2011 Venice International Film Festival, the film was in wide release in Hong Kong from October to December in 2011, and went on to sweep up eight nominations at the 2012 Hong Kong Film Awards, including Best Film, and Best Director for To, who has previously taken the award thrice, for The Mission (1999), PTU (2003), and Election (2005).  The prolific director’s Exiled (2006) was previously selected to represent Hong Kong as contender for the Academy Awards best foreign language film category in 2007.

Although Life Without Principle falls within the release-date criteria for best foreign language film submissions set by the Academy, which stipulates films to be released in its own region of origin within the period from Oct. 1, 2011 to Sept. 30, 2012, the film in fact ended its theatrical run in Hong Kong before the 2011 entry for the same category from Hong Kong, A Simple Life, which began its wide release from March 2012.

Other films in consideration for selection include The Silent War by Infernal Affairs duo Alan Mak and Felix Chong, and director Tsui Hark’s Flying Swords of Dragon Gate, according to the Hong Kong Federation of Motion Film Producers.