Lotus Lantern- -
A young boy named Chen Xiang uses a magical lotus lantern to search for and rescue his mother, a goddess, from the cruel punishment she received from her brother, the king of the gods, for falling in love with a mortal man.
Lotus Lantern (宝莲灯; Băo lián dēng) is a Chinese animated feature film produced by Shanghai Animation Film Studio.
The story is based on the traditional Chinese folklore about a boy named Chenxiang. His mother, Sanshengmu, was a goddess and his father, Liu Yanchang, was a mortal. Since their marriage was forbidden, his maternal uncle, Erlang Shen, who was a god, punishes them by killing Liu Yanchang. Sanshengmu escapes and gives birth, but Chenxiang grows up without knowledge of his ancestry. Sanshengmu possesses a magical Lotus Lantern whose light can scare away evil. When Erlang Shen, a strict and powerful god, kidnaps Chenxiang, Sanshengmu fights to save him.
Unfortunately, Erlang Shen is victorious and Chenxiang is forced to live in his palace on the sacred mountains. Erlang Shen then imprisons Sanshengmu beneath a mountain for her crimes. Although he is quite young, Chenxiang manages to escape from the palace, taking the magical lotus lantern that Sanshengmu lost during the battle.
After surviving adventures with many beloved characters of Chinese mythology, Chenxiang finally matures into a courageous young man who must battle Erlang Shen to win Sanshengmu’s freedom and fall in love at the same time. [wikipedia]
“Gleefully borrowing animation techniques from sources as disparate as old-style Disney and native practitioners such as the Wan Brothers, Lotus Lantern is a bright, vervy telling of a Chinese folktale that you don’t need a PhD in Asian literature to decipher.
In China, where the $1.5 million, four-years-in-the-works production was released in August ’99, it quickly became a national cause celebre, reportedly outperforming Disney’s Mulan . Compared with Mouse House productions of the past two decades and even the Hong Kong A Chinese Ghost Story: The Tsui Hark Animation (1997), Lantern looks positively old-fashioned. What mark the movie as absolutely Chinese are its iconography, leaps of imagination and simple innocence. If there’s any contemporary message beneath the ancient shenanigans, it is simply a pro-human, anti-gods one – an ingredient of Chinese classical literature since ancient times. Uncomplicated story has goddess Sanshengmu falling for a mortal scholar, Liu, and eloping earthward, taking with her the magic Lotus Lantern. Seven years later, her bullying big brother, Er Lang, still mightily pissed, imprisons Sanshengmu under Mt. Hua. It’s left to her young son, Chen Xiang, to rescue her, with the help of the pesky Monkey King. Much of the central section is taken up with Chen Xiang’s journey to find the Monkey King, who puts the kid through various tests. A battery of well-known mainland actors provides the voices, including Jiang Wen as a booming Er Lang.”
Thanks to Far East Film Festival