National Style

Recently, I have read Animation in China: History, aesthetics, media by Sean Macdonald.

There is a phrase mentioned in the book which is “national style”. The author analyzes many articles discussed Chinese national style in animation and motion pictures. However, martial arts seems like the main stream and plays a majority of roles in the Chinese film and television industry due to the large amount of Hong Kong Kung fu movies and TV series.

Jay Leyda claimed PRC filmmakers “had learned so little from their arts of the past.” The positive side is that people in Chinese industry began to dig into Chinese culture instead of keeping creating Kung Fu creatures. Big Fish & Begonia which is an animation tells a story of a mystical realm that exists beneath the human world which is based on a story in Classic of Mountains and Seas. I personally highly recommend Classic of Mountains and Seas. This book existed since the 4th century BC and contains many ancient Chinese mythology and weird creatures which is a wonderful resource for character design and story telling. Some animals it recorded now found in every corner of the world. For instance, it even described alligator snapping turtle which is now found in Florida, the United States and Zebra from Africa. Thousands of years ago, those creatures were living in China.

I believe that in every country there are plenty of culture and mythologies have been shown in the screen. And people are suppose to break the “national style” and keep finding and searching more interesting things in their own history and traditional culture for building the creative works.

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