The King of Masks is Wang — a locally renowned street performer and wizard of the venerable art of mask magic. Nearing the end of his life, he yearns to pass on his technique. But custom decrees that he can only hand down his craft to a male successor. Anxious to preserve his unique art, the heirless Wang buys an impoverished 8-year-old on the black market in a startling scene — the child is held by the seller on a leash. The main characters, notably the old street performer and the little child he takes under his wing and nicknames “Doggie,” provide a kaleidoscope of emotions in a relatively simple story set against the backdrop of a grim Sichuan China in the 1930s. It lets us wander with a street performer — who has lost any family that he had much earlier — as he looks for an heir to teach and pass on his art to. But when the child divulges a dreaded secret, Wang faces a choice between filial love and societal tradition. The King of Masks is a beautifully crafted film that explores deep human emotions and cultural prejudices. I especially liked the look of the film, filled with brilliant colors. A beautiful film with a delightful story. Very well-made and well-acted. Absolutely brilliant, wonderfully intelligent and heart-warming. This movie will make you feel good deep down inside. A great movie in every way! Everything about this was enjoyable, emotional and fulfilling. Extremely satisfying and entertaining — one of the best Chinese films I’ve ever seen! It reminds of a Disney movie from back when Disney actually made good films that could appeal to both children and adults. I think parents and families can enjoy this feel-good movie with younger children. Plus, this is a good way to introduce a younger viewer to foreign cinema. King of Masks is a must-see, especially if you are a patron of the performing arts. It is so true to life, as if you are watching a live performance right in front of you. Some of the parts where he is switching his masks still make me wonder how he does it. It’s a movie that you will find yourself thinking about long after you finish watching. This is what movies were meant to be and do for the viewers — “leave an impression inside our souls forever”. Drama 1999 TV-14 1hr 41m.
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