As much as I’d like to give you red envelopes stuffed with cash (for the whippersnappers, of course–red envelopes are traditionally given to those younger than yourself), I’m a little broke right now.
Instead, for your Lunar New Year gift, I will give you the first Chinese feature-length animated film, Princess Iron Fan (Tie Shan Gong Zhu).
This 1941 film by the pioneering Wan brothers came out of the Xinhua Film Company, a feat in itself, as Shanghai was under Japanese occupation at the time. Xinhua may have been one of the last of the Shanghai studios to hold out against occupying force’s business interests, but was eventually merged with Japanese-controlled studios.
The details of the film are charmingly Fleischer-esque, and for those familiar with Chinese epics you’ll know that film is based on an episode from Journey to the West. When the film was screened in Japan, a young Tezuka saw it and it influenced him greatly.
Here’s a preview on youtube–but you can watch the film in its entirety at the Internet Archive.
We hope to see you all for this Sunday’s Lunar New Year Celebration!