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Bian Lian (The King of Masks)

Bian Lian (The King of Masks) (1999)

tomatometer

100

Average Rating: 7.7/10
Critic Reviews: 5
Fresh: 5 | Rotten: 0

No consensus yet.

audience

90

liked it
Average Rating: 4.1/5
User Ratings: 3,089

My Rating

Movie Info

This tender Chinese tale of an aged street performer who begins teaching a young child is filled with warm humanity but not imbued with undue sentiment. It is set about seventy years in the past and centers on elderly Wang Bian Lian, who travels the street performing with his pet monkey. Just looking at him it would be hard to tell that he is a master of the rapid changing face masks technique that characterizes Sichuan opera. He came to the streets thirty years before, after his wife abandoned

Unrated,

Art House & International, Drama

Wei Minglun

Mar 7, 2000

Samuel Goldwyn

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All Critics (31) | Top Critics (11) | Fresh (16) | Rotten (2) | DVD (5)

This charming, '30s-set fable offers richer rewards than a jolt of adrenaline.

February 18, 2005 Full Review Source: TheMovieReport.com
TheMovieReport.com

Reveals the desperate lengths a resilient little girl will go to find a permanent home.

March 3, 2002 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

The story centers around an elderly street performer who is a fast changer of silk masks.

February 14, 2001 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

starts out strong and enduring, but squanders its tender sincerity on dramatics.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Hollywood Report Card
Hollywood Report Card

Both a charming film and a contemporary allegory, old-fashioned storytelling and scathing commentary.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

Audience Reviews for Bian Lian (The King of Masks)

An insightful study in Asian culture and the sometimes tragic consequences of tradition. Slightly sappy but a genuine pleasure to watch. This one will tug at your heartstrings (hankies mandatory).
May 7, 2010
flixsterman
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

Not a bad story, but not what I'd hoped to see. If they'd spent more time exploring the artistry of the mask quick-change and the King teaching that to "Doggie," I think the film would be stronger for it. The art form is fascinating and pure magic.
April 25, 2007
binky013

Super Reviewer

A well directed moving story.
June 10, 2008
threefolddado

Super Reviewer

Tear-jerking. One of the most recommanded film by me. Many foreign elements unknown to the Occidental world such as tradition to pass down family's secret skill unto sons, the working force of the society, and one's own sons only. Nonetheless, the emotion and the art is much appreciated and louder than color. A must watch!
January 14, 2008
Jossepi
Jojo Shek

Super Reviewer

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

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Foreign Titles

  • The King of Masks (Bian Lian) (DE)
  • The King of Masks (Bian Lian) (UK)
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