ARTS / FILM
Animation made 38 years ago returns to screen, boosting traditional culture among young viewers
Published: Nov 06, 2021 03:03 PM
Photo: courtesy of Shanghai Animation Film Studio

Photo: courtesy of Shanghai Animation Film Studio


 
A Chinese animation film, the Legend of Sealed Book, produced in 1983 and adapted from a legendary story from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), returned to screens on Friday in a restored version, sparking nostalgia among people born in the 1970s and 1980s.

This restoration and some other blockbuster animations produced recently like the Monkey King: Hero is back are helping traditional Chinese culture and animation compete with offerings from Walt Disney Studios that are also popular in China, observers noted. 

The film is about a saint who passes a “sealed book” to a man who uses the book to help villagers fight three fox villains. It combines traditional opera, paper cut, ink wash painting and many other elements. 

Photo: courtesy of Shanghai Animation Film Studio

Photo: courtesy of Shanghai Animation Film Studio

 
After 38 years, the work is still seen as one of the greatest Chinese animated works and comparable to its predecessor, The Monkey King, made in 1964. Both works were made by Shanghai Animation Film Studio, which was founded in 1957. 

For younger generations, these works are different from the Disney style fairy tales they grew up with, and for people who grew up with traditional Chinese animation, the restoration is an impressive feat.

“It is a gift from childhood. And I’m glad my son also likes it,” a moviegoer in his 40s said after watching the film on Friday. 

“This is the first time I watched an animation in the Chinese style. The folk culture and Chinese architecture are really attractive,” a moviegoer surnamed Huang told the Global Times. 

Photo: courtesy of Shanghai Animation Film Studio

Photo: courtesy of Shanghai Animation Film Studio


 A member of staff at Shanghai Animation Film Studio told the Global Times that diversity in culture has offered today’s audiences a variety of quality works to enjoy. The restoration came at a time when Chinese animations are trying to revive their fortunes. The richness of Chinese civilization offers strong foundations for Chinese animation to thrive, the staff member said. 


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