Chinese Period Film ‘Empire of Silver’ Melds History, Art, Business Ethics
Christina Yao’s “Empire of Silver” is a foreign-language financial drama about the challenges that war and political turmoil pose to ethical financial practices.
Its U.S. distributors, as well as the director, are hoping that the story about doing the right thing in the business world resonates with an American audience all too familiar with financial crises— even when the movie takes place in China at the end of the 1800s.
The 100-minute film, originally released in China in 2009, is slated for limited release in the U.S. in late May. Such a lag is not uncommon with foreign-language films.
“Empire of Silver” begins at the turn of the 19th century in China’s Shanxi province, where a set of investment banking houses or “piahao” controlled the majority of the cash flow. Through a string of tragedies, the youngest son of the head of one of the houses finds himself thrust into the limelight. But instead of following his father’s deceptive ways, he places the health of the country above his own personal wealth.