This is a stirring movie. It tells the story of Bo Wah Chuen from his infancy through his rise to the top Chinese position in the Imperial East India Company based in Hong Kong. The story is fictional, but an endnote claims that it is "based on real life characters." The adult Bo is brilliantly portrayed by Aaron Kwok. Kwok presents a somewhat shy, but tough as steel character who overcomes a difficult childhood through his own hard work and determination.
Bo's mother was Chinese and desperately poor. She sold the newborn Bo to a woman who had just miscarried her own baby. This woman turned out to be a great mother for Bo. She raised him exactly as she would raise her own children. Bo's birth father was British; hence Bo was often insulted, called a "half-breed" or "mixed." This birth father had no contact with Bo. The insults came from both the Chinese around Bo and the British who mocked him as he worked his way up in their world.
There are four sterling performances by women in this film. Josie Ho is Bo's adoptive mother when she was young. Paw Hee Ching plays Bo's adoptive mother during the latter part of her life. Charlie Yeung is Tai, Bo's wife. Annie Liu plays Fion, a Hong Kong businesswoman who possesses overwhelming charm and confidence. She opens her door for Bo, but he does not walk in because he loves Tai.
The director, Yim Ho, put together a seamless classic. The cinematography is spectacular, with each shot carefully planned and executed.
It's in Cantonese with English subtitles. Most highly recommended.