Politics, social order, and hierarchies in post-millennium Hong Kong cinema

Research output: Chapter in Book or Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter discusses how gangsters organize themselves in post-1997 Hong Kong. It examines how these films respond to socio-political changes in relation to politics, social order, and hierarchy by focusing upon Johnnie To’s Election films along with Andrew Lau and Alan Mak’s Infernal Affairs trilogy. The chapter contextualizes the post-millennial gangster film as a repudiation of the heroic bloodshed tradition by de-romanticizing gangsters and their codes of triad brotherhood. It also contextualizes post-millennial gangster films in terms of showing how Confucian and Buddhist ideology are used to influence social hierarchy and ordering. Post-millennial gangster films dramatize social upheaval by depicting triad members desiring to change their social order. The Infernal Affairs trilogy details the rise and fall of Ming, who infiltrates the police as an undercover mole for the triads. Finally, the chapter explains how the post-millennial gangster is reconfigured as someone located within a larger sociopolitical and criminal hierarchy.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationA Companion to the Gangster Film
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781119041757
ISBN (Print)9781119041665
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Hong Kong cinema
  • Infernal Affairs trilogy
  • Post-millennial gangster films
  • Socio-political changes
  • Sociopolitical hierarchy


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