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Chinese Film: “The King of Masks” by Wu Tianming Essay

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Updated: Mar 17th, 2020

Films are crucial avenues about the propagation of ideas in contemporary society. Most films revolve around recurrent issues that manifest among individuals in diverse socio-economic contexts (Stone 3). Through films, people reflect on different contextual thresholds that characterize existence in society. The King of Masks is a Chinese film that highlights diverse historical realities that manifest in Chinese contemporary society.

Its storyline is sentimental and devoid of exaggerations (Stone 3). It reflects modern engagements in a societal setting. Its storyline exploits numerous stylistic devices that not only tell a great story but also create the impetus for introspection. The film provides an opportunity for exposure to challenges that affect individuals in society.

Due to its exotic inclination, the film has won prestigious awards. The King of Masks is a story about an old man who lives a solitary life. Through a child, he befriends, the old man highlights various pertinent issues in Chinese society (Stone 5).

The plot of this film revolves around Wang’s ability to perform street magic. His performances play an important role in exhibiting recurrent realities in society. He receives numerous offers from a mainstream opera star. However, Wang turns down the offers to pursue personal interests (Stone 6). He does not want to abandon his traditional orientation as a street performer.

This gesture is indicative of the Chinese tendency to preserve historical ideas and practices. It highlights the conservative nature of individual members in society. It is important for individuals to encourage the preservation of traditional practices that embody positive attributes (Stone 8). Wang’s prowess in street performance is an indication of talents and positive attributes that exist among individuals in society.

This film is instrumental in developing and propagating a culture of positive action and reaction about situations that embody daily human existence and interaction in society. Wang argues that he desires to have an heir in street performance after he exits the stage (Stone 13). In his wisdom, Wang decides to procure a young boy from traders in the black market.

This gesture highlights various issues such as human trafficking, sexuality, and value for human beings in society. It also promotes the need to hone respect for human beings to guarantee sustainable relations and interaction in society.

The child is also despised by his handlers because they treat him in a demeaning manner. This brings forth the issue of human dignity and its relevance about interaction within social contexts. Although Wang strives to initiate a cordial relationship with the young boy, there is an atmosphere of tension and mistrust between them (Stone 17).

After living with the young boy for a while, Wang realized that there was a misunderstanding about gender. He realized that the boy was indeed a girl. This revelation is a reflection of gender realities that exist in contemporary society (Stone 23). It is important to note that there are many people who struggle through life without a clear understanding of gender realities that characterize their existence in society.

Regardless of the aforementioned realization, Wang continued to enhance cordial relations with the young girl. He treats her with respect after knowing the circumstances that separated her from family and friends at a tender age (Stone 28). This segment of the film highlights the reality of suffering and abuse that people face in society on account of sexual and gender prejudice.

The film highlights inherent attitudes that manifest among individuals in society. Some people are sympathetic and considerate towards minorities in society. This role is exemplified by Wang because he takes care of Doggie after discovering her situation. This is a positive attribute that should suffice in all human beings, regardless of their station in life (Stone 33).

People should learn the importance of good relations because of the inherent desire for harmonious coexistence in society. However, the movie depicts people who lack proper human values about how they treat fellow human beings in society.

This reality is exemplified by handlers who sell Doggie to Wang. They exhibit an absolute disregard for civility and human rights. They fail to recognize and uphold respect for Doggie despite her bleak future and disadvantaged past (Stone 33).

As the film progresses towards its end, Wang and Doggie continue to enjoy cordial relations. However, tragedy strikes after Wang suffer an accident that destabilizes his career as a street performer. This affects his relationship with Doggie because he cannot engage in active performances in the streets. After the accident, Doggie reciprocates Wang’s kindness by offering support on numerous occasions (Stone 38).

The accident highlights the realities of human existence in contemporary society. It exposes the harsh facts of human life by showing that individuals have little or no control over their lives.

To live a fruitful life, people must be ready to embrace change. It is important to note that such a change could manifest in good or bad occurrences (Stone 42). Whenever change precipitates positive implications, individuals must celebrate and show appreciation for whatever they experience.

On the other hand, people should have the ability to embrace the negative realities that they encounter in life. This gives them a chance to learn and move on with life. In the absence of such considerations, it would be difficult for people to cope with hardships that characterize human experience in society (Stone 43).

This film is relevant to human existence in modern societal contexts. It creates the impetus for introspection and evaluation of values that manifest in society. One of its core themes is sexuality and other related aspects of gender. It is important to note that sexuality and gender relations play a vital role in determining progress in society (Stone 52). Societies that do not respect gender roles and identities cannot prosper.

Disregard for gender roles leads to inappropriate patterns of interaction in society. Therefore, this film is important because it promotes the propagation of appropriate patterns of gender relations in social contexts (Stone 53). It also promotes values that enhance the realization of progress in society through innovation and pursuit of talents. Indeed, this film inspires positive action among individuals in society because it encourages creativity and personal improvement (Stone 62).

The characters in this film are well placed in terms of inspiring and motivating change within societal ranks. This film also provides room for discourse about recurrent issues and challenges that manifest in society. It encourages the need for proper and adequate knowledge of the aforementioned realities. Indeed, The King of Masks is a formidable film due to its inclination about recurrent issues that often precipitate contention in society (Stone 73).

Works Cited

Stone, Alan. Movies and the Moral Adventure of Life. Newyork: MIT Press, 2007. Print.

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"Chinese Film: "The King of Masks" by Wu Tianming." IvyPanda, 17 Mar. 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/chinese-film-the-king-of-masks-by-wu-tianming/.

1. IvyPanda. "Chinese Film: "The King of Masks" by Wu Tianming." March 17, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/chinese-film-the-king-of-masks-by-wu-tianming/.


IvyPanda. "Chinese Film: "The King of Masks" by Wu Tianming." March 17, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/chinese-film-the-king-of-masks-by-wu-tianming/.


IvyPanda. 2020. "Chinese Film: "The King of Masks" by Wu Tianming." March 17, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/chinese-film-the-king-of-masks-by-wu-tianming/.


IvyPanda. (2020) 'Chinese Film: "The King of Masks" by Wu Tianming'. 17 March.

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