Sparrow (2008 film)

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Promotional poster
Directed by Johnnie To
Written byChan Kin-Chung
Fung Chih-chiang
Milkyway Creative Team
Produced byJohnnie To
Starring Simon Yam
Kelly Lin
Gordon Lam
Law Wing-cheung
Kenneth Cheung
Cinematography Cheng Siu-Keung
Edited byDavid M. Richardson
Music byXavier Jamaux
Fred Avril
Universe Entertainment
Milkyway Image
Distributed byUniverse Films Distribution Co. Ltd.
China Film Group
Release dates
  • 11 February 2008 (2008-02-11)(Berlinale)
  • 19 June 2008 (2008-06-19)(Hong Kong)
Running time
87 minutes
CountryHong Kong
Budget$0.8 million [1]
Box office$3.55 million [2]

Sparrow (Chinese :文雀; pinyin :Wen que; Cantonese Yale :Man4 jeuk3) is a 2008 Hong Kong caper film produced and directed by Johnnie To. The film stars veteran Milkyway Image cast and crew alumni Simon Yam, Gordon Lam, Law Wing-cheung and Kenneth Cheung as a small gang of pickpockets, with each member being mysteriously approached by a beautiful Taiwanese woman (Kelly Lin) with a hidden agenda.


Sparrow remained in pre-production for three years from 2005 to 2008, with To shooting the film in between other projects. The film was selected in competition at the 58th Berlin International Film Festival, premiering during the festival in February 2008. It was released in Hong Kong on 19 June 2008.


Kei (Simon Yam) is the experienced leader of a team of pickpockets.(Pickpockets are also known as "Sparrows" in Hong Kong slang). He enjoys a carefree lifestyle taking photos with his vintage Rolleiflex. One day a dashing beauty, Chun-Lei (Kelly Lin), suddenly appears in Kei's viewfinder. Kei is mesmerized. Every member of his team has an encounter with her.... But behind Chun-lei's attractive facade lies a mysterious past and a mission to set herself free.


Kei/The Sparrow Simon Yam
Chung Chun-lei Kelly Lin
Bo Gordon Lam
Sak Law Wing-cheung
MacKenneth Cheung
Fu Kim-tong Lo Hoi-pang
Lung Lam Suet


Director Johnnie To shot the film in Hong Kong over a three-year period. In an interview, To said he and his crew would shoot every three or four months between projects. [3]

Awards and nominations

45th Golden Horse Film Awards Best Original Film ScoreXavier Jamaux, Fred AvrilNominated
Best Cinematography Cheng Siu-Keung Won
28th Hong Kong Film Awards Best Director Johnnie To Nominated
Best Actor Simon Yam Nominated
Best CinematographyCheng Siu-KeungNominated
Best Film EditingDavid M. RichardsonNominated
Best Original Film ScoreXavier Jamaux, Fred AvrilNominated
3rd Asian Film Awards Best CinematographyCheng Siu-KeungNominated
2008 Asia Pacific Screen Awards Best Feature Film Nominated
Best Achievement in Directing Johnnie ToNominated
Best Performance by an ActorSimon YamNominated
Best Achievement in CinematographyCheng Siu-KeungNominated
Berlin International Film Festival
2008 Golden Bear In Competition

See also

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  1. "Man Jeuk (2008) – Box Office". IMDb. Retrieved 23 February 2018.
  2. "Man Jeuk (Sparrow) (2008)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 23 February 2018.
  3. Johnnie To on "Mad Detective" Archived 29 July 2008 at the Wayback Machine