Painted Faces

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  • TV-PG
  • 1988
  • 1 hr 40 min
  • 7.2  (560)

Painted Faces is a 1988 Hong Kong drama film directed by Alex Law, and starring Sammo Kam-Bo Hung, Ching-Ying Lam, and Pei-Pei Cheng. The movie is a coming-of-age story that follows the lives of young children who are enrolled in a Peking Opera school in Hong Kong during the 1960s. The story revolves around seven boys who live in the school and are trained in the art of Peking Opera. The boys are taught how to sing, dance, and perform martial arts, along with the strict discipline and regimentation that are a part of the school's daily routine. The boys' parents have sent them to the school as they believe that it is the only way for them to have a successful future.

One of the main characters is Master Yu (played by Sammo Kam-Bo Hung), who is a senior member of the school and acts as a mentor to the boys. Master Yu is a strict teacher, but he is also very kind-hearted and cares for the boys' well-being. He is instrumental in teaching the boys how to face the harsh realities of life, including poverty, disease and death.

Another important character is Shiela Pak (played by Pei-Pei Cheng), who is the school's lead teacher and the only female member of staff. She is tough and demanding, but she is also very dedicated to the boys and determined to make them the best performers they can be. The boys look up to her and respect her, even though she can be very strict with them.

Ching-Ying Lam plays the role of Master Wong, who is the school's principal, and the boys' strict father figure. He is extremely strict and disciplinarian, and can be very cruel in his treatment of the boys. He believes that only through strict discipline and harsh training can the boys become successful performers. However, towards the end of the movie, the audience gets a glimpse at his softer side, which makes him seem more human.

The boys themselves are also important characters in the movie, and we get to see their individual struggles and triumphs as they go through their training. One of them, Ah Wah (played by Chi-shing Chan), struggles to live up to the expectations of his parents, who are very demanding of him. Meanwhile, Ah Sam (played by Man-Tat Ng) has to deal with the fact that he is small and fragile, and does not have the physical strength of the other boys. The other characters all have their own unique stories, but they work together to overcome obstacles and achieve their goals.

Painted Faces is a very emotional and poignant movie, which showcases the trials and tribulations of young children growing up in a harsh and unforgiving world. The boys' struggles are both physical and emotional, and we see them dealing with sickness, death, and poverty, while still trying to maintain their dreams of becoming successful performers. The movie effectively portrays the dark and gritty side of life in Hong Kong during the 1960s, and is a good commentary on the social issues that were prevalent at the time.

The performances in the movie are excellent, especially by the young stars who show an impressive range of emotions and acting skills. Sammo Kam-Bo Hung's portrayal of Master Yu is particularly noteworthy, as he manages to bring both kindness and discipline to the role, while still maintaining a credible character. The movie also boasts some great choreography, as the boys perform some impressive stunts and martial arts moves that are both entertaining and thrilling.

Overall, Painted Faces is a must-watch for anyone interested in Hong Kong cinema or coming-of-age stories in general. The movie is emotional and heartwarming, but it is also very realistic and gritty, which makes the story all the more powerful. The characters are very relatable, and their struggles will resonate with viewers of all ages. With its powerful performances and impressive direction, Painted Faces is a true classic of Hong Kong cinema that is well worth watching.

Painted Faces
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 40 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.2  (560)