King of Masks represents a particular type of mythic film that includes within it references to an ancient sacred story and is itself a contemporary recapitulation of it. The movie also belongs to a further subcategory of mythic cinema, using the double citation of the myth—in its original integrity and its re-enactment—to critique the subordinate position of women to men in the narrated world. To do this, the Buddhist myth of Miao-shan, which centralizes the Confucian value of filiality, is re-applied beyond its traditional scope and context. Thereby two prominent features of contemporary China are creatively addressed: the revival of interest in Confucianism and the growing concern about the declining number of female births to male ones.
"King of Masks: The Myth of Miao-shan and the Empowerment of Women,"
Journal of Religion & Film: Vol. 16:
1, Article 5.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.unomaha.edu/jrf/vol16/iss1/5