变脸 | The King of Masks

The King of Masks

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.

Directed by Tian-Ming Wu | Starring : Xu Zhu, Renying Zhou, Zhigang Zhao, Zhigang Zhang, Jia Zhaoji | Presented at Berlin Film Festival, Tokyo Film Festival, Palm Springs Film Festival, Istanbul Film Festival, Singapore Film Festival, Fajr Film Festival

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没有航标的河流 | River Without Buoys

The River With Buoys

Life is hard for raftsmen Pan Laowu, Shi Gu, and Zhao Liang. During the Cultural Revolution, they seek work where they can, and spend the rest of the time drinking and brawling. At one stop they learn that district leader Xu, an honest man, has been jailed and nearly persecuted to death. With the help of Pan’s former lover they medicate Xu and move him onto their raft, but encounter a ferocious thunderstorm enroute to safety. River Without Buoys marked the beginning of a second career for actor Li Wei, who had begun acting in films in the 1940s, and also put the formerly obscure Xi’an Film Studio on the PRC cinematic map.

Directed by Tian-Ming Wu | Starring : Wei Li, Yuling Tao, Ronghua Hu, Qingming Tang, Hui-fen Chen | Presented at Hawaii Film Festival