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Silk Road images map out glorious ancient cultures

     The Silk Road has been a major thoroughfare from China’s northwest to Central Asia and Europe, a route for the exchange of cultures and trade. The filmic world has vividly captured the Silk Road’s images of yesteryear and the lives and civilisations along the way.

     As a contribution to the forthcoming “Silk Road Arts Festival”, the Film Programmes Office of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) has organised a film programme “Images of the Silk Road” to feature the cultures of China and Central Asia along the Silk Road with different styles. The screenings will be held from October 10-25 at the Cinema of the Hong Kong Film Archive and the Lecture Hall of the Hong Kong Space Museum.

     The five films are “Warriors of Heaven and Earth” starring Jiang Wen and Zhao Wei, Ann Hui’s “Princess Fragrance”, a Central Asian poetic fantasy from Georgia, “Ashik Kerib”, director Michel Ocelot’s French animated feature “Azur and Asmar” and the China-Japan co-production epic “The Silk Road”.

     To tie in with the screenings, a seminar entitled “Human Interests in Films on the Silk Road” is scheduled for 3pm on September 13 at the Lecture Hall of the Hong Kong Museum of History. Admission is free and it will be conducted in Cantonese.

     At the height of the Tang Dynasty, wars were frequent between China and the western frontier states. A general becomes a fugitive because of his defiance against slaughtering defenseless common people and prisoners of war, while a group of bandits are scheming to rob the Tang Dynasty trade caravan. Director He Ping captured the Tang Dynasty west in a sweeping tale of honour and virtue in “Warriors of Heaven and Earth” (2003).

     Adapted from Louis Cha’s novel “Romance of the Book and Sword”, Ann Hui’s “Princess Fragrance” (1987) features a love triangle among Emperor Qianlong, hero Chen and Princess Fragrance, and the quest of the Red Flower Society, an organisation aiming to overthrow the Manchurian government. Through the lens of Hui, the exquisiteness of Tianshan and the desert of Xinjiang have all been captured.

     The former Soviet Republic of Georgia has a long cinema history which has fostered many master filmmakers. Directed by Sergei Paradjanov who made his name in the West in the 1980s, “Ashik Kerib” (1988) caused a stir in the 1988 Venice and Munich Film Festivals. A medieval travelling poet and his lover are forcibly separated by their parents. He is on the road for seven years before the lovers are reunited.

     How do the noble-born Azur and his Arabic best friend Asmar join forces to defeat a monster and break the curse? French master animator Michel Ocelot utilises enchanting hues in the animated feature “Azur and Asmar” (2007) to display a Silk Road adventure and parable of racial harmony.

     Dunhuang is an important outpost for the Silk Road as its unique cave art, artifacts and ancient scriptures are China’s invaluable cultural relics. Shot by a joint Sino-Japanese crew, “The Silk Road” (1989) is an epic with fairytale romance and battle scenes of grandeur. Director Sato Junya has recreated the awe-inspiring views of Dunhuang and its surrounding region, and the complex multi-culture socio-economic setting.

     All films have English subtitles.

     Tickets priced at $45 are available at URBTIX outlets. Half-price concessionary tickets are available for full-time students, senior citizens aged 60 and above, people with disabilities and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance recipients. Discounts from 10% to 20% for purchasing tickets of film programmes or performing arts of the “Silk Road Arts Festival” are also available.

     Programme and discount details can be found in the “Images of the Silk Road” leaflet or in the “Silk Road Arts Festival” programme brochure at all LCSD performing venues. Reservations can be made by phone on 2734 9009 or via the Internet at For enquiries, please call 2734 2900 or browse the website at

Ends/Monday, August 17, 2009


A film still from "Warriors of Heaven and Earth" (2003).



A film still from "Princess Fragrance" (1987).





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