Film Review of the King of Masks

1671 words 7 pages
“The King of Masks”, directed by Wu Tianming, is a sentimental melodrama with many underlying themes, one of which is the theme of love. The plot of the film, the morals that it teaches, and its impact on the audience all revolve around love. "The King of Masks" centers around the old street performer, Wang, played by Zhu Xu, who is desperately in search of a male successor to inherit his secret art of "face-changing". Fate allows him to meet with Doggie, a young child whose role is heartwarmingly played by the child actress Zhou Renying, who herself was sent away by her impoverished family to join an acrobatic troupe at the age of 3 (Maslin, 1999). The importance of love during harsh times is portrayed through the development of the …show more content…

Despite the growing strength of their bonds, it is shown that love cannot overcome tradition when Wang discovers that Doggie is in fact a girl. Although he had displayed much genuine love for her previously, he is bound by his deep-rooted patriarchal Chinese beliefs that females are inferior to males. Family secrets and traditions, in this case, his secret ancestral art, is forbidden to be passed down to her, a female. Feeling distressed and deceived, he sends her away. We can perceive that the old man and the child were made for one another and only his traditional views impede their union. This event reveals that in these historical times, tradition often becomes a barrier that comes between love. In spite of this, true to her name, Doggie's unwavering devotion towards Wang persists. Dogs are often associated with a deep sense of loyalty and her name is a perfect representation of her devotion, determination and self-sacrificing nature. Whilst roaming the streets, homeless, she is once again kidnapped by a child trafficker and encounters a little boy who had also been captured. Even in the midst of danger, her thoughts were not on her own safety but on the old street performer, who was the only one who showed her any kindness since being sold seven times in her past. She escapes


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