Watch the film on LIVESTREAM.
This film will only be available for live viewing at the time scheduled.
The film is set in the 1930s, a time of political turmoil in the Sichuan province of China. Wang, the King of Masks, is an elderly street performer, enchanting audiences with the complicated art of face-changing. He illustrates Chinese folk tales by split second changes of a large repertoire of character masks. Traditionally, the King of Masks passes down the secrets of the art to a son or grandson, but Wang has no heir. At an illegal child market, Wang buys an orphan boy to become his adopted son and apprentice. However, Wang soon learns his apprentice is actually a girl and sends her away—but she refuses to leave. He reluctantly allows her to act as a servant, calling her “Doggie” and commands her to refer to him as “Boss”. Doggie will do anything to gain Wang’s approval and surprises him by performing street acrobatics to draw a crowd.
Wang refuses, however, to share the secrets of the masks, and Doggie secretly tries to inspect them closely while the old man is sleeping. In the process, she sets the sampan on which they live on fire. Out of guilt, she runs away, and compounds her errors further by rescuing a kidnapped boy fated to be sold by kidnappers and takes him to Wang to be the grandson he desires. Unfortunately, Wang is arrested as a kidnapper and thrown in prison, destined to be executed. Doggie is determined to save him. By this time, the audience is completely enraptured by the wondrous King and the amazing Doggie, and completely drawn into their exotic world. A true classic, The Kind of Masks won many international awards when it was released in 1995.
The film will be preceded by the National Geographic short film, Akashinga: The Brave Ones, which follows a women-only team of rangers protecting animals from poachers and empowering African communities through an innovative approach to conservation. Executive produced by three-time Academy Award winner James Cameron and directed by Maria Wilhelm, the film is a celebration of the courage, conservation and unorthodox thinking that’s leading to massive positive change.
Drama, China, 91 minutes
Documentary, United States, 13 minutes