Adults as Audience: A Review of The Guardian

By Shaopeng Chen Historically speaking, Chinese animated films have always targeted children and ignored their entertainment appeal for adults. At the same time, the Chinese cultural authorities required animated works to be both instructive and interesting. Weihua Wu argues that animation in China is “the practice of hidden education in an appealing form,” which suggests … Continue reading Adults as Audience: A Review of The Guardian

Feelings of Mountains and Rivers: Minimalism and Monumentalism in Motion

By Rebecca Liptay and Shannon Brownlee Feelings of Mountains and Rivers (Shanshui qing, Te Wei, 1988)[1]  is the last of the four analogue ink-painting animations (shuimo donghua) made at the Shanghai Animation Film Studio. All but one of these were directed or co-directed by legendary animator Te Wei,[2] and all were filmed by Duan Xiaoxuan, the … Continue reading Feelings of Mountains and Rivers: Minimalism and Monumentalism in Motion

The Ambiguous Superhero in Wan Laiming’s Havoc in Heaven

By Olga Bobrowska “Look how nice it is to be Monkey King. No parents, no control. Just do as he will. And no shifts of WTO (World Trade Organization),” says Guo Binbin, a tragically passionless hero in Jia Zhangke’s film Unknown Pleasures (2002). Binbin is an unemployed 19-year-old who does not dare to kiss his … Continue reading The Ambiguous Superhero in Wan Laiming’s Havoc in Heaven

Chinese Diasporic Life: A Review of Bao

By Shannon Brownlee California-based Pixar Animation Studio is not, at first glance, a likely producer of Chinese animation. However, Bao (Domee Shi, 2018) proves otherwise (Fig 1).[1]As Disney and Pixar’s opening logos appear, they are accompanied – even eclipsed – by the strings of the guzheng, then pipa and erhu, playing a pentatonic theme. The … Continue reading Chinese Diasporic Life: A Review of Bao

The Question of Hong Kong Identity in My Life As McDull

By Lokyi Tsoi My Life As McDull is the first attempt to make a full-length animation film of the McDull series, as a collaboration with director Toe Yuen, screenplay writer Brian Tse, and story writer Alice Mak (Fig 1). Released in Hong Kong during Chinese New Year 2001-2002, the film achieved remarkable success, grossing a total … Continue reading The Question of Hong Kong Identity in My Life As McDull

Visual Effects and the Enchanted Technique of Elements: A Review of Ne Zha

By Hang Wu Animation renders visible the nonhuman energy that is otherwise hidden. The visualization of this nonhuman affective energy is exemplified by the animated feature film Ne Zha (2019), which reaches its climax during the fight of fire vs. water between Ne Zha and Ao Bing. As Ne Zha was born with the power … Continue reading Visual Effects and the Enchanted Technique of Elements: A Review of Ne Zha

Next Gen: Out-of-control “Prototype Memory” in a Futuristic Machine City

By Maggie Chunning Guo The animated film Next Gen, released in 2019, presents a series of dualisms, such as stereotypes of humans vs. machines and the dilemma of deleting memories vs. unloading weapons. These confrontations lead to a war between the humans and machines, climaxing in a final fight between the robot “7723” and Justin … Continue reading Next Gen: Out-of-control “Prototype Memory” in a Futuristic Machine City

Transborder Fairy Tales: Princess Iron Fan and the Discourse of Children

By Ying Chen Princess Iron Fanis the first Chinese animated feature film produced by the Wan Brothers at Xinhua studio during the Orphan Island period of Shanghai’s film industry. Adapted from a well-known story in Journey to the West, the film was made as a response to Disney’s first animated feature film, Snow White and … Continue reading Transborder Fairy Tales: Princess Iron Fan and the Discourse of Children

“Our Comrade Sun Wukong”: On Fantasy and Exaggeration in Mountain of Flames

By Linda C. Zhang In 1958, the Shanghai Animation Film Studio released a 35-minute, color, stop-motion puppet animation film, Mountain of Flames (Huoyan shan), directed by Jin Xi. The movie retold a familiar episode from the novel Journey to the West, where Sun Wukong – the Monkey King – must try three successive times to … Continue reading “Our Comrade Sun Wukong”: On Fantasy and Exaggeration in Mountain of Flames

Queering an Icon, Becoming a Demon: A Review of White Snake: Origins

By Liang Luo  The 2019 animated film White Snake: Origins (Baishe yuanqi), co-produced by Beijing-based Light Chaser Animation and Warner Bros., premiered on January 11 throughout China. It opens with an innovative, hybrid style of ink-painting 3D animation.[1] In the one-minute opening sequence, two snakes who have transformed into beautiful women, White Snake and Green … Continue reading Queering an Icon, Becoming a Demon: A Review of White Snake: Origins