The King of Masks (Fullscreen) product details page

The King of Masks (Fullscreen)

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The King of Masks is a colorful fable that effectively re-creates two old-world Chinese ideals, only one of which has any enduring social value: the transcendent magic of Chinese theater and street performance, and the lingering patrilineal abhorrence of female children and women in general. This latter takes dominant position in director Wu Tianming's visually dynamic film, forcing the poor adopted youth (Zhou Ren-ying) to continually prove her worthiness to an otherwise loving father figure (Zhu Xu) determined to demonstrate his disdain at every turn. Thus, the film is a curious mix of warmth and sadness, and Western viewers who are less familiar with Chinese culture will have a hard time not condemning the talented street performer for his heartless behavior. A message of acceptance eventually shines through, but viewers must wade through a lot of neglect before then, as well as some pretty dire scenes. The heartfelt performances and beautiful cinematography make The King of Masks well worthwhile. But once exposed to the practices of such a male-dominant nation, albeit more than 70 years in the past, it's hard not to ponder what passes for progress in that society. Derek Armstrong, All Movie Guide