Analysis of “The King of Masks” Wang, who is the main character in this movie, is a true representation of the Chinese traditions from historical background and he also portrays some aspect of kindness that we shall discuss in our analysis. Doggie is a major character and she has brought up an important issue of child abuse and together with Liang who is also another movie actor but more modern than Wang brings up the aspect of sexual discrimination. Therefore, this paper looks briefly at the Chinese traditional background, the widely covered aspect of kindness in the movie, child abuse and sexual discrimination as signified by the various characters as earlier mentioned.
Wang is depicted as an actor of the past, more than 70 years ago and specializes in changing face masks at the speed of lighting. This basically is a skill that is family possessed and as we saw in his attempt of trying to obtain an heir, the skill is supposed to be traditionally passed on from one generation to the other. Moreover, the heir, in this case, is not supposed to be a female, it is supposed to be a male as dictated by the traditional regulations of the Chinese people during that era (Wang 1119-20). This is why Wang is excited to finally buy Doggie believing that she was a boy who could finally be the heir of their family mask-master acting tradition. He gets very disappointed when he later learns that Doggie is a girl although out of kindness and the considerations of the good deed that Doggie had done to him, he does not chase her away but lets her stay. All these aspects solidify the aspect of tradition amongst the Chinese people in the past.
As earlier mentioned, Wang in this movie is analogically used to signify kindness in addition to the tender love that he shows to all other characters that he interacts with. When Liang asks Wang to join his crew that also would require Wang’s acting skills, Wang rejects the offer with such a clean heart that no feelings were left hanging and Liang leaves satisfied by his rejection of the offer. The kindness that Wang shows to Doggie is extra-ordinary because this old man loves the little girl and stays with her as a granddaughter without complaining even after realizing that he was cheated. We do not see Wang complaining even when Doggie burned down is residence and ran away out of fear for that the old man would do harm to her. When Doggie returns with a boy that they had escaped with from kidnappers, the old man is once again very delighted and the same kindness of old is passed on to the young boy.
Child abuse is another aspect that has really been stressed in this movie this has been evidenced through the performance of Doggie. From other sources, we learn that Doggie had been thrown into the streets by her parents and she actually started at the age of three, a time that we all believe she was supposed to be somewhere schooling. Through this confirmation, we get to learn that the Chinese people during this traditional era had exposed their children to child abuse by denying them the parental love at a tender age and also denying them their rights such as the right to education (Wang 1119-20). Moreover, we are able to find out from the movie that Doggie was sold around seven times by different people meaning that children at this time were illegally being sold just like financial items. This is actually degrading the value of children to the value of mere items which any constitution in the entire globe would have clearly outlined, with tough consequences of course. Due to the aspect of doing business with children, it is obvious that the children are exposed to psychological torture for fear of being kidnapped at any particular time like it happened with Doggie when she ran away and the young boy from the wealthy family.
Finally, the issue of sexual discrimination has been brought to light through the performance of Liang the actor and Doggie as well. First, we are made to be aware that Liang is a male that takes women roles in the movies that he appears. Does this actually imply that there are no women that cannot take part in movies or that cannot play the roles of women to the expectations of both the director and the viewers? Of course no, we are aware that almost of things that are done by men can also be done by women and sometimes even the women can do them better which is an undisputed fact (Wang 1119-20). Moreover, Doggie is framed as a boy so that she could be sold since no client would be willing to buy a girl, showing how lowly the women were valued in this society. Even when Wang realizes that Doggie is a girl he gets disappointed because traditionally they were not supposed to have females as heirs, but as the movies ends, we can see the efforts that this young girl makes to ensure that the unfairly arrested Wang is freed.
Wang, Rujie. “Chinese Cinema during the Era of Reform: The Ingenuity of the System.” The Journal of Asian Studies 63.4 (2004): 1119-20.