Hong Kong action filmmaker Jonnie To’s financial-crisis themed Life Without Principle (Dyut Ming Gam) will be the 22nd film in competition in the upcoming Venice Film Festival, organisers confirmed.

In its world premiere, Life Without Principle focuses on three characters, a bank teller turned financial analyst, a petty thief aiming trying to make it big in the futures market, and a middle-class police officer, suddenly in need of a cash injection. Their lives intersect when a bag of $5 million in cash pops up. The picture features Lau Ching Wan, Richie Jen, Denise Ho and an appearance by Terence Yin.

Produced by To’s own Milkyway Image, the film is presented by Media Asia Films with distribution via Media Asia Distribution.

To is a repeat director in Venice and was last in competition on the Lido in 2007 with The Mad Detective. His film Exiled was presented in competition in 2006. Out of competition, he has shown Throw Down, in 2004.

The Biennale says the competition is yet to be rounded out with another surprise film, which has become a signature of artistic director Marco Mueller’s tenure. That film has been traditionally unveiled on the morning of the press screening.

The Venice Film Festival runs Aug 31-Sept 10.