Plot: What’s it about?
While Peking Opera is a beautiful, lavish performance art, it is not well known in America and is even on the decline in native China. One of the most acclaimed performers in the field is Qi Shu Fang, a hard working and dedicated artist who has a deep, lasting love of her art form. In Master Qi and the Monkey King, we’re taken inside her life to learn about her as a performer and as a person, as well as her beloved Peking Opera. The program provides a wealth of performance footage, from drama to action to comedy, as played with great skill. To see the art in motion is a real treat in these clips, while interviews and behind the scenes footage brings the other side of the curtain to life. The film puts a focus on how the art is losing popularity and how the troupe deals with the trials caused by a move to the United States. If you’re a fan of Peking Opera or have heard about it but never looked into it, Master Qi and the Monkey King is a release you should check out.
Video: How does it look?
Master Qi and the Monkey King is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. This transfer looks good, especially in the live performance clips. The colors are vivid and contrast is accurate, so no errors in those areas pop up. I found detail to be solid, but this is a DVD, so I wasn’t floored by the depth. The film’s visuals are well handled and in those performance scenes, the full visual splendor of the opera are on showcase.
Audio: How does it sound?
The soundtrack is passable, but not memorable. This is really only an issue with the live clips, as some added presence would have been great in those scenes. The rest of the film is rather reserved audio-wise, so the track is fine. The dialogue comes across well and no serious concerns emerged. Not the kind of audio that grabs your attention, but it gets the job done.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes still photos, biographies, and bonus performances.