Wang Bianlian, an aging lonely street performer, is known as the King of Mask for his mastery of the dying art form, Sichuan, the rapid-changing face mask technique. Then, one night after a performance Wang is sold a young boy "Doggie" to train him as his protégé. All is well until Doggie is found out to be a girl.
Very touching movie. I never saw this movie in China. Same situation for whole China history, even today. I don't know when most of us can wake up from the salve country, a land full of miserable stories. Now I understand, China actors are very good, their talent has been kept in napkin.
It is a very beautiful movie. High quality. I wander how the production could find a young girl to pay such a difficult drama. She makes you feel like you are part of the movie. I cried several times. I do strong recommend this movie for those who are devotees of Kwan Yin (Kuan Yin Pu Sa). It is all about forgiving and compassion. I got a used copy, but it came in good conditions.
A real 'gem' of a film, with a most poignant story and beautifully filmed. It follows the elderly Wang, a master in the art of mask entertainment, desperate in his search for an heir to pass on the tricks of his trade. When 'Doggie' is offered for sale, Wang believes that his dream will at last come true - but!! The film brings into play the importance of the male heir in the one-child policy, the conventions of Chinese opera and the star status of its lead actors, the clash of tradition against modernity. There are outstanding performances from all the main protagonists, some heart-stopping moments and the most colourfully dynamic dragon dance you have ever seen! Why this film is not available in the UK is beyond me.
I've seen the King of Masks several times both in the Theatre and on DVD. After seeing it in the theatre, I called up several friends and talked them into watching it with me a 2nd time. Everyone thought it was a great movie. Of the many excellent foreign DVDs in my collection, it is the one I'm most likely to loan out to friends who may not be too into foreign films or subtitles -- everyone has like it so far. If you've watched it, you also know that this is a great film to encourage friends to *start* watching more independent / foreign films. The general storyline is well described in the other posted reviews. The King of Masks combines an excellent storyline with excellent characters, scenes, and cinematography. In my opinion this movie is suitable for all ages. Subtitles are clear and easy to read. There are many genuinely touching scenes in the film that will tug at your emotions. All of the lead acting is excellent. If I had to (this would be hard) recommend only one "foreign" film to someone out of all the films I've seen so far from various countries, this would probably be it. A person comes away from this film experiencing all of the good things a foreign film can present: dialect, characters, scenes, culture, unique plot. A lot of excellent movies only hit on 3 or 4 of these; this one hits on all cylinders. This is one not only for your library, but to loan your friends, including the ones that usually only watch Hollywood box office hits.
This movie is just beautiful - a darling film, with a happy ending. I thought it would be a perfect gift for the daughter of my Chinese friend - but could not buy it in China. It's banned. Maybe because it shows how old China was, before Communism? Because the characters are not today's normal? So when I got home from my China visit I sent a copy to them. No comment. And then I found out they were afraid to mention it., so I don't know if they enjoyed it or not. But it is really wonderful, with a child actress who puts Shirley Temple to shame.
This movie was touching, emotional, and entertaining from start to finish. The heartfelt story began in the 1930's as we viewed a tale of hope, poverty, loneliness, and tradition. An older man, the main character is The King of Masks, who desperately attempts to follow traditional beliefs as he searches for a male heir to teach his art to.
As he finds an apprentice in a child he purchased at a black market, he soon discovers that the child is a girl. While he battles with a sense of tradition and customs of China, the little girl proves to him that there is nothing more valuable than the gift of love and compassion, despite tradition.
When he realizes that she saved his life, he has a change of heart as their relationship become stronger, and he begins to change his mind about the most important things in life. Emotional, filled with passion, and intriguing throughout. A very enjoyable movie from beginning to end, motivating, and inspiring. Highly recommended.
The movie is not sold as a DVD media in Japan. I once viewed this movie at theater, but I could not watch it again, because we have only VHS version in Japan, and it is sold at a kind of premium price (exceeding $225.00) at Japanese Amazon site (amazon.co.jp). I wish Japanese subtitle, but anyway I got this heart warming masterpiece with English subtitle. Thanks Amazon.com!