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Empire Of Silver (2009) (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) DVD Region 3

Aaron Kwok (Actor) | Zhang Tie Lin (Actor) | Jennifer Tilly (Actor) | Hao Lei (Actor)
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YesAsia Editorial Description

Taiwan's top tycoon and richest person Gou Tai Ming invested over US$10 million to make a film version of the historical novel "The Silver Valley" written by Cheng Yi. The novel is about the merchants of the Shanxi province - where Gou's ancestors hailed from - at the end of the Qing Dynasty of China. Monopolizing the country's financial sector, Shanxi merchants amassed an enormous amount of wealth, while their influence extended to most of Asia and even Europe, earning them the analogy of "the Wall Street of China".

Premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival 2009, the film adaptation titled Empire of Silver is produced by renowned film critic Peggy Chiao and directed by theater director Christina Yao. Obviously, to most audiences, the main draw of the film lies in its brilliant cast. Taking top billing is Hong Kong superstar Aaron Kwok, who was twice crowned Best Actor at the Golden Horse Awards for Divergence and After This Our Exile. Here, he is given strong support by Mainland veteran actor Zhang Tielin (the highly popular TV series Princess Returning Pearl), starlet Hao Lei (Summer Palace), and American actress Jennifer Tilly (Bullets over Broadway).

At the end of the 19th century, Lord Kang (Zhang Tielin) is the rich and powerful head of the Shanxi banking empire. He intends to make his son "Third Master" (Aaron Kwok) his heir, but the young man cares more about liquor and women than his family business, and not until his family is hit by a tragic incident does he reluctantly step up into the leader role. However, the idealistic Third Master often clashes with his father, for he does not agree with Lord Kang's ruthless ways and questionable business ethics. What's making their relationship worse is that Third Master still has feelings for the girl (Hao Lei) who has now become his stepmother after unwillingly married Lord Kang. Amidst greed, deceit, and jealousy, he must decide whether to follow through on his father's path when the country is at a turbulent time with threats of foreign invasion and impending revolutions...

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Technical Information

Product Title: Empire Of Silver (2009) (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version) 白銀帝國 (2009) (DVD) (香港版) 白银帝国 (2009) (DVD) (香港版) 白銀帝國 (2009) (DVD) (香港版) Empire Of Silver (2009) (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version)
Artist Name(s): Aaron Kwok (Actor) | Zhang Tie Lin (Actor) | Jennifer Tilly (Actor) | Hao Lei (Actor) | Lei Zhen Yu | Tanny Tien | King Shih Chieh | Lu Zhong | Li Yi Xiao | Ding Zhi Cheng 郭富城 (Actor) | 張鐵林 (Actor) | 珍妮花泰莉 (Actor) | 郝蕾 (Actor) | 雷鎮語 | 恬 妞 | 金 士傑 | 呂中 | 李依曉 | 丁 志誠 郭富城 (Actor) | 张铁林 (Actor) | 珍妮花泰莉 (Actor) | 郝蕾 (Actor) | 雷镇语 | 恬 妞 | 金 士杰 | 吕中 | 李依晓 | 丁 志诚 郭富城(アーロン・コック) (Actor) | 張鐵林(チャン・ティエリン) (Actor) | Jennifer Tilly (Actor) | 郝蕾 (ハオ・レイ) (Actor) | Lei Zhen Yu | 恬[女丑](ティアン・ニウ) | 金仕傑(カム・シーキット) | Lyu Zhong | Li Yi Xiao | Ding Zhi Cheng 곽부성 (Actor) | Zhang Tie Lin (Actor) | Jennifer Tilly (Actor) | Hao Lei (Actor) | Lei Zhen Yu | Tanny Tien | King Shih Chieh | Lyu Zhong | Li Yi Xiao | Ding Zhi Cheng
Director: Yao Shu Hua 姚樹華 姚树华 姚樹華 (クリスティーナ・ヤオ) Yao Shu Hua
Action Director: Tung Wai 董瑋 董玮 董瑋 (トン・ワイ) Tung Wai
Release Date: 2010-08-12
Language: Cantonese, Mandarin
Subtitles: English, Traditional Chinese
Place of Origin: China
Picture Format: NTSC What is it?
Aspect Ratio: 1.78 : 1, Widescreen
Disc Format(s): DVD
Region Code: 3 - South East Asia (including Hong Kong, S. Korea and Taiwan) What is it?
Duration: 113 (mins)
Publisher: Edko Films Ltd. (HK)
Package Weight: 120 (g)
Shipment Unit: 1 What is it?
YesAsia Catalog No.: 1022257711

Product Information

* Special Features: Trailer

China, 1899, A hedonistic yung man, "Third Master", must assume the role of heir to a banking empire he cares little about. Following the tragic kidnapping of his brother's wife, the powerful bank-owner Lord Kang is detrmined to prepare Third Master for financial leadership by molding his son into his won image, The ruthless businessman tries to convince his son to choose a proven unscrupulous bank manager over a more honest one. But the idealistic Third Master has always questioned his father's autocratic rule and ethics. The tense relationship is further complicated by Third Master's undying love for his beautiful young stepmother, his first and only love stolen from him by his own father... Greed, deception and jealousy surface under the pressures of war and the impending change from silver to paper bills.
Additional Information may be provided by the manufacturer, supplier, or a third party, and may be in its original language

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YumCha! Asian Entertainment Reviews and Features

Professional Review of "Empire Of Silver (2009) (DVD) (English Subtitled) (Hong Kong Version)"

December 4, 2009

This professional review refers to Empire Of Silver (DVD) (China Version)
Given the current world financial crisis and banking dilemmas, the release of Empire of Silver certainly comes at an opportune time, charting as it does the rise of the Shanxi merchants towards the end of the Qing Dynasty of China, whose wealth and influence all over the world saw them being referred to as the "Wall Street of China". The film was a prestige production, being based upon the historical novel "The Silver Valley" by Shanxi merchant descendent Cheng Yi, and boasting a US$10 million investment by top Taiwanese tycoon Gou Tai Ming. It was helmed by regular theatre director Christina Yao, produced by noted critic Peggy Chiao, and perhaps more importantly features a truly impressive cast, with the award winning Aaron Kwok in the lead, supported by the likes of Mainland veteran actor Zhang Tielin (from the popular television series Princess Returning Pearl), up and coming actress Hao Lei (recently in Lou Ye's highly controversial Summer Palace), and even a recognisable Hollywood star in Jennifer Tilly (Bullets over Broadway). Having premiered at the 2009 Berlin International Film Festival, the film went on to critical success, winning a number of prizes and nominations at award ceremonies, including the all important "Most Attractive Director" for Christina Yao at the Shanghai International Film Festival.

The film begins at the end of the 19th Century, with Lord Kang (Zhang Tielin) as the head of the Shanxi merchant organisation and trying to decide which of his three sons should succeed him. Circumstances push him to choose the flighty and carousing Third Master (Aaron Kwok), who is himself initially uninterested in taking up the reigns of the family business, not least since he is still in love with the girl who has now unfortunately become his stepmother (Hao Lei). As the country enters a time of war and political turmoil, he gradually steps into the role, though frequently fights with his father over their very different ideas of business ethics and the company's place in the changing society, as paper money and savings accounts begin to replace the old ways of silver hoarding.

Empire of Silver is an interesting film in terms of approach, with Yao going neither for a fully fledged grandiose epic, nor a dry piece of fact based historical reportage. Instead, she attempts, and generally succeeds, to mix these different styles, whilst focusing mainly on the character of Third Master. This works well, and by effectively seeing the film and the changes sweeping the country through his eyes, she is able to address a number of important moral issues and choices, as the bankers have to decide whether to take the path of self-interest or to dedicate themselves to the nation and people ?obviously still a very pertinent question for the industry today. At the same time, the film also explores the shift from traditional to more modern values in China, with the father-son conflict and related unrequited love and lust story at its heart questioning filial obedience and the following of Confucian values. As such, there is certainly a lot going on both narratively and thematically, and though the plot does lose focus a bit at times, it manages to engage throughout, with a vaguely educational rather than propagandist feel. Turning in a notably more balanced performance than in Murderer, Kwok is solid in the lead role, and carries the film well enough, though his character at times feels like too obvious an audience cipher. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for Jennifer Tilly, who seems woefully lost and out of her depth, and gives the impression that she is reading her lines from an autocue.

Yao's theatre background shines through, showing a strong sense of shot composition and structure. Although things do get a little static at times during the longer dialogue and exposition scenes, she certainly has a cinematic eye, and the film is visually striking in places, with some epic vistas that help give the proceedings somewhat of a sweeping feel. The comparably high budget results in excellent production values, with some great looking and convincing sets and costumes - it certainly seems as if the producers did their homework in terms of historical research. This attention to detail gives the film a real boost, and makes it far more grounded and believable than other period set, more CGI heavy and fantasy influenced efforts.

Of course, all of this may mean that for some viewers Empire of Silver spreads itself somewhat thin, perhaps too mainstream and conventional for the art house crowd, and too given to flights of details and facts for popcorn fans. However, for most open minded audiences, and especially for anyone interested in the fascinating subject matter, it is a film which enjoys the best of both worlds, being by turns historically interesting, dramatically involving, and artistically impressive.

by James Mudge -

This original content has been created by or licensed to, and cannot be copied or republished in any medium without the express written permission of

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