As a guest at the film festival in Hong Kong, director Marion Hänsel - the daughter of a dredger/port builder - became intrigued by the city and wanted to shoot a film there. Everything came together when she read the short story Li by Greek author Nikos Kavvadias.
Situated in Hong Kong, Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea is largely set on board a ship that cannot leave port due to the shipping company's bankruptcy. Stephen Rea plays the opium-addicted, Greek-Irish radio operator Nikos, who has vivid memories of an Englishwoman he impregnated and deserted. When 10-year-old Chinese girl Li comes aboard, he is initially reticent, but soon her optimism and incisiveness rouse him from his lethargy. Their special relationship results in a tender, beautifully shot film with meditative music by Wim Mertens.