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The King of Masks (1996)
"Bian Lian" (original title)

 |  Drama  |  16 April 1999 (USA)
7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 2,680 users  
Reviews: 54 user | 29 critic

Wang Bianlian is an aging street performer known as the King of Mask for his mastery of Sichuan Change Art in a true story. His wife left him with and infant son over 30 years ago. The son ... See full summary »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Zhigang Zhang ...
Sulan, Luo
Zhigang Zhao ...
Liang Sao Lang
Renying Zhou ...
Gou Wa ("Doggie")
Xu Zhu ...
Bianlian Wang
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Storyline

Wang Bianlian is an aging street performer known as the King of Mask for his mastery of Sichuan Change Art in a true story. 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 aching for a male descendent to learn his rare and dying art. A famous master performer of the Sichuan Opera offers to bring him into his act, thus giving Wang 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" (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. Written by Steve Uptegraft <bluzman@voyager.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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Drama

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Release Date:

16 April 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El rey de las máscaras  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$394,272 (USA) (11 June 1999)

Gross:

$1,104,619 (USA) (25 February 2000)
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1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Goofs

When Wang (The Mask King) is performing for the soldiers who insist on having his secret, his missing front tooth is there in one scene, then gone in the next. See more »

Connections

Featured in Siskel & Ebert: Episode dated 3 July 1999 (1999) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Nice Story; Lousy DVD
14 July 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The fact that this film was put out on DVD still formatted-to TV and with a fuzzy picture really annoyed a lot of film purists......and rightly so. This deserves a lot better treatment.

The story is about a street performer who needs a son to pass on his craft (the rules of the day) and winds up with a little girl instead (not the conventional way) ....and the problems that ensue afterward. The old man had bought the kid at a slave auction and soon discovers the kid is not a boy, which he obviously thought was the case.

The old man "Bianlian Wang (Xu Zhu)is kind of funny-looking with a missing front tooth and an infectious grin. The little girl "Doggie" (Zhou Renying) is a cutie. The rest of the story is how the two manage after that. I usually like a nice sentimental ending but this gets a bit carried away in the final 15 minutes.

Overall, it's involving story complete with drama, suspense, humor and sadness. Just don't expect a good quality picture for the money you are spending on the DVD. Until it comes out on widescreen, rent it.


17 of 21 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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