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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 2,695 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  »

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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

 
Awesome movie! Good for kids too! (8 and older)
28 April 2001 | by (Champaign, IL, USA) – See all my reviews

I just saw this movie today with my children (son, 10 and daughter, 4.5) at the 3rd Annual Roger Ebert Overlooked Film Festival. After the film the children in the audience were allowed to ask questions to the Director, Tian-Ming Wu. He (through a translator) told several stories about his life and the making of the film.

All tangents aside, both of my children really enjoyed this movie. Of course, I had to paraphrase many of the subtitles for my daughter, but much of the film is visually self-explanatory.

I won't give anything away, but the bottom line is that this film is SO MUCH better than 95% of the Hollywood crap (especially children's films) out there.

Cheers.

p.s. There is a "real"/original King of Masks who can/could do 12 masks at once. The actor in the movie trained and learned to do up to 4 masks at a time (then they would cut and change to 4 new masks).


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