Johnnie To's crime thriller joins lineup

The Venice Film Festival has added Hong Kong helmer Johnnie To’s timely financial-crisis crimer “Life Without Principle” to its competition lineup.

Long-gestating pic, set against the backdrop of recession in Hong Kong, is about three regular folks desperately in need of cash whose fates intersect when a bag containing $5 million is found after a loan shark is assaulted.

To is a Lido regular. His “Throw Down” unspooled in Venice in 2004, “Exiled” played there in 2006 and “The Mad Detective” in 2007.

The prolific helmer, who is hugely popular in Asia and has a cult following overseas, was a member of this year’s Cannes jury.

“Life Without Principle” stars Lau Ching Wan, Richie Jen, Denise Ho and features a guest star turn by Terence Yin. Pic is produced by Milkyway Image and distributed by Media Asia Distribution.

To’s latest is the 22nd film screening in the Venice competish.

The Lido will announce a surprise competition pic during the fest, which runs Aug. 31 – Sept. 10.

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