Infernal Affairs (aka Wu Jian Dao) (2002) (HK)

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Infernal Affairs (aka Wu Jian Dao) (2002) (HK)

Postby hengcs » Sun May 08, 2005 10:10 pm

With the revamp of the forum, I think the thread on Infernal Affairs has vaporized. So, forgive me for starting a new thread again ... hee hee ...

Anyway, I thought that by translating the lyrics of the song, one may have a better understanding of the mood (and feelings) of the movie and cast.

see ...

-- The Chinese lyrics at the top is the Mandarin Version
-- The Chinese lyrics at the bottom is the Cantonese Version

-- the English "words" (at the top) are phonetics (a.k.a., hanyu pinyin) of the Mandarin version
-- the English words (at the bottom) are translations of the Mandarin version (at the top).

Hence, I have decided to help translate the Cantonese lyrics ...

Before I translate the Cantonese version, there are a few noteworthy points:
(i) the movie has explicit and implicit references to Buddhism.
e.g., the title "Infernal Affairs"
e.g., the beginning credits/scenes
e.g., the song lyrics (abt the CYCLE of life etc)
(ii) By the way, line 10 on the website is slightly erroneous
i.e., "yesterday" should be "day and night"
(iii) Also, when the chorus is repeated, Andy and Tony's lines are switched!

So, here you go ... the Cantonese lyrics translation

A denotes Andy
T denotes Tony
B denotes BOTH Andy and Tony

Due to the inability to have spaces and format properly, I will use "..."

Title: Infernal Affairs

A: I ... will live on for my sake
... will also live on for your sake
... suffering all extremes, I have not tire
T: Forget about me ... do you still reminisce
... if there is a future, please pursue on

A: Life is too short ... tomorrow is infinitely distant
... but it will never be as distant as eternity
T: Don't be bothered that the worldly path is too long and the destinations are too few
... the carousel will have to continue turning

A: Actually I have already (days and nights, without halting) ... been pressing forward
... but why have I not reached the opposite shore in my dreams
T: Actually I have already (with all might and effort, without pausing) ... been on the road daily
... I do not die so as to live a better life
B: Is there really a destination ... who really knows ...
... in this worldly infernal affairs ...

A: How to leave this depressing place
T: To linger around is really one's choice
A: To attain Nirvana the road is too long and distant
T: To suffer the pain within pain
A: Pain within pain
B: That is never ending

B: When we are about to reach the destination ... only will we realize ...
... we have actually arrived at the originating point again ... just to start all over again ...

Re: Infernal Affairs (aka Wu Jian Dao) (2002) (HK)

Postby A » Tue Oct 02, 2007 1:05 am

I have re-watched "Infernal Affairs" this year, and while it isn't one of the greatest films of all time, it is certainly one of the best examples of Hong Kong cinema in the new millenium. My first encounter with the film was at a German Film Festival in 2003 when news about the hype surrounding it were beginning to pour into Germany. Four years later I must say it hasn't lost any of its impact, though the formula has been copied many times since (of course Infernal Affairs also borrowed heavily from other classics). I haven't seen Scorsese's remake so I won't make any comparisons. I'd just be surprised if it's as effective, seeing how he transferred the setting from Hong Kong to New York. The film expresses imo Hong Kong's fears of the future very well, and speaks to me profoundly of various aspects of Asian culture while still remaining an entertaining actiondrama. I rated it on-par with Park Chan-Wook's Oldboy (2003). Though it didn't grip me quite as much emotionally, the overall precision and consistency in tone might be a bit superior.

My rating after the re-watch was a surprisingly high 68 out of 100

Thanks for translating some of the lyrics hengcs! I'll try to keep them in mind next time I watch the movie

Re: Infernal Affairs (aka Wu Jian Dao) (2002) (HK)

Postby hengcs » Tue Oct 02, 2007 8:20 am


I recall that my earlier post (that vanished with the old forum) was more detailed ...

In particular, I tried explaining why the film is good, highlighting many contrasts it contains and many subtle messages it conveys ... guess I can't recall all of them now ...

The other reason is: It has mass appeals (i.e., as a clever thriller) as well as "artistic merits" (at least from the Chinese critics/audience point of view)

Re: Infernal Affairs (aka Wu Jian Dao) (2002) (HK)

Postby A » Tue Oct 02, 2007 9:41 pm

Yes, I remember you original longer post quite vividly, and kept it in mind while re-watching "Infernal Affairs". Too bad it's gone, but when I read it, and while watching the film I share(d) many of your views and insights. Though of course I'm not an Asian, so some things aren't as easily accessible to me (same as I always have to wonder about the genius of Kusturica, as I grew up in Yugoslavia ).

The film has these two qualities, which is very rare in mainstream cinema (such a level of reflection I mean).

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