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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Bian Lian - The Old Art of Face Changing

变脸 (Bian Lian), the Sichuan art of face changing.

The performer rapidly goes though a series of masks in the routine, which may last for as long as 30 minutes or even more. The performer may be dancing or even displaying his wushu skills throughout the act, and the main source of wonderment stems from his hands never coming anywhere close to his face prior to the changes. This skill is not taught to non-Chinese (too bad- my note)

Marcia Bujold brought this to my attention. Thanks Marcia!

Marcia mentioned also The King of Masks, a Chinese movie from 1997. It is on Netflix.

Nearing the end of his life, Wang -- a locally renowned street performer and wizard of the venerable art of mask magic -- yearns to pass on his technique. But custom decrees that he can only hand down his craft to a male successor. Anxious to preserve his unique art, the heirless Wang buys an impoverished 8-year-old on the black market. But when the child divulges a dreaded secret, Wang faces a choice between filial love and societal tradition.

Because the 8 year kid is actually a girl!

(Chinese Cinema)

(Marcia Bujold)



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