King of Masks, The

Rated 4.0 This fascinating melodrama about sexism in 1930s China is both blatantly manipulative and deeply moving. Old street performer Wang (Chu Yuk) is befriended by a female impersonator (Zhao Zhigang) from the Sichuan Opera who urges him to pass along his artistic secrets before he dies. Wang buys a young girl (Chao Yim Yin) at a slave market to live with him aboard his small houseboat and become the heir of his illusions involving silk face masks. As they share the small living space, their relationship becomes a hotbed of snowballing complications and shredded emotions. Wu Tianming directed this gorgeously photographed and richly detailed film.