Lord of East China Sea
Dir: Poon Man-kit
Scr: Johnny Mak, Stephen Siu
Prod: Stephen Siu
Prod Co.: Golden Harvest, Johnny Mak Production
Cast: Ray Lui, Kent Cheng, Xu Jinjiang, Carina Lau, Cecilia Yip, Siqin Gaowa
1993 / Colour / 35mm / Cantonese / Chi & Eng subtitles / 148min
Painting a highly romanticised picture of criminal life in early 20th Century Shanghai, Poon Man Kit's Lord of the East China Sea follows Luk Yu San (Ray Lui) as he evolves from a near-illiterate fruit vendor on the streets under French Concession, to become one of the city's most powerful criminals. By allying himself both with the common folk of the city, law enforcement officials and other gang bosses, Brother San became a pivotal figure in the importing and distribution of opium during the politically chaotic years. Together with corrupt Police Inspector Wong (Kent Cheng), they strike a deal with the French to distribute opium on their behalf, uniting with charismatic gangster Yuen Siu-kwan in the process. Based on real-life triad boss Du Yuesheng, his exploits were banned in mainland Chinese media for many years, but Lord of the East China Sea paints an incredibly sympathetic and heroic portrait of the man and his endeavours. Made prior to 1997, the political portrayal in the film would be unimaginable in the joint venture production environment of today.
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