Mandarin Movie: Bian Lian: The King of Masks

Posted by Charlie @ Discovering Mandarin Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Wang Bianlian (Xu Zhu) is an aging street performer known as the King of Masks for his mastery of Sichuan Mask Changing Art. His wife left him with and infant son over 30 years ago. The son died from illness at age 10. This left Wang a melancholy loner desperate for a male heir so he could pass on his rare and dying art.

A famous master performer of the Sichuan Opera, Master Liang offers to bring Wang into his act, thus giving him fame and possible fortune, but Wang opts for staying the simple street performer. Then, one night after a performance he is sold a young boy by a slave trader posing as the boy's parent. "Grandpa" finds new joy in life as he plans to teach "Doggie"(Zhou Renying) (an affectionate term often used for young children in China) his art. All is well until Doggie is found out to really be a girl.

Set in 1930s China, this 1996 film ranges through the heart-breaking and joyful. Showing how hard life was for the characters you truly see the depths and heights of human existence in this film. The actors are all perfect, such that you feel like you have really entered a different world.

Bian Lian: King of Masks is very predictable and has great mirroring of pivotal moments within the film. I reccomend this heart warming tale for all. I watched it for the first time on Youtube. I enjoyed it so much, that I will be buying it.

Video Trailer: IMDB
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