China’s first feature-length animated sound film adapts a story from chapters 69-72 of the Ming dynasty novel Journey to the West 西遊記. The Tang monk Tripitaka and his companions Sun Wukong (Monkey), Zhu Bajie (Pigsy), and Sha Monk (Sandy) arrive at the Mountain of Flames and find it impassible, so they seek to borrow the palm-leaf fan from Princess Iron Fan, who is not easily persuaded.
Made and released during Japan’s occupation of China, the film calls for people to keep the faith, work together, and literally go through fire to rid the world of a calamity.
Alternative English titles: Princess Iron-Fan, The Princess with the Iron Fan
Producer: S.K. Chang (Zhang Shankun)
Screenplay: Wang Qianbai
Lead animators: Wan Laiming and Wan Guchan
Studio: China United Film Co. (Zhongguo lianhe yingye gongsi)
Year of release: 1941
English subtitles translated by Christopher Rea
Watch the wartime live-action film Hua Mu Lan (1939), an adaptation of the Mulan legend set in the Tang dynasty.
Watch other cartoons by the Wan brothers and other animators on the “Early Chinese animation” playlist.
Animation and Cartoons 卡通與漫畫
Early Chinese cinema included both animated films and live-action films with animated and illustrated sequences
Hua Mu Lan 木蘭從軍 (1939)
A young woman takes her father's place in the army and protects the Tang empire from invaders in this wartime adaptation of the Mulan legend.