Li Tien Lu, the most famous puppetmaster in the world, has an incredible story to tell in THE PUPPETMASTER. The film relives his extraordinary life through flashback and clever narration by this special eighty-four-year-old man. Born in Taiwan on the brink of World War I, the puppetmaster-narrator tells his story with objectivity and humor. Our narrator is able to tell his story objectively, or at least without appearing too sentimental in his depiction of the past. The film’s strongest point is Li Tien Lu’s sense of humor used in his narration. Reaching adulthood, he marries his boss’s daughter; however, he also frequents a brothel where he establishes a relationship with a prostitute. Though this sub-plot is subtly portrayed, it detracts from and wounds this sacred bond of marriage and denigrates Li Tien Lu’s character.
The film uses naturalistic yet not graphic violence to dramatize the events of World War I and the American bombings. THE PUPPETMASTER is an epic which combines one man’s colorful life with the wars and events that changed his country of Taiwan. The audience is left with the story of an unusual yet average man combined with a dramatic chapter of history. The only blemish is the implied marital infidelity–a critical point indeed with regard to the integrity of the narrator/hero.
(Fr, L, V, S) Polytheism & Taiwanese religion; few obscenities; implied adulterous relationship; and, brief, natural violence in World War I.