Feature Video–Dec 10th–Uproar in Heaven

Here at MIRC, we invite our staff and student workers to contribute to the feature video selection and write a blog piece about why they chose the film that they did. This week’s video and blog is by Ran, our new cataloguer of the Chinese Film Collection. Ran arrived from the Beijing Film Academy a few months ago and is spending her time watching, researching and cataloguing the many documentary films in the collection so they can be more easily accessed. The feature video this week is an excerpt from a very famous chinese animated film, that is a favorite with staff, as well as Ran, who explains why here:

Uproar in Heaven- An Everlasting Dream

a MIRC blog by Ran Wei, Chinese Film Collection Cataloguer

I have to admit that I choose Uproar in Heaven without hesitation, when I have a chance to introduce one Chinese film in this blog. It is a film that I am so familiar with. Monkey King is a friend who accompanies my entire childhood.

Maybe I can say, Monkey King is the hero that is admired by all Chinese of the same age or older than me.  I still remember when we sat together to watch the TV series, a cartoon about Journey to the West every summer vacation, though we had watched it millions of times, we still felt amazed and excited. It was such a fantastic story that I always dreamed that I could fly as high and as fast Monkey King did, that I could transform into different things like Monkey King. At that time I did not understand what dreams were, but when I went to Orlando Disney world this Thanksgiving break, seeing the whole dreamland created for children and how parents cherished their children’s dream, I realized how important Monkey King was to me and how sweet my childhood was spent with my dearest friends together wanting to cheer for Monkey King.

When I begin to learn film systematically, I found that Uproar in Heaven plays a vital role in the history of Chinese film, especially Chinese animated film. WAN Laiming, WAN Guchan, WAN Chaochen and WAN Dihuan, created a new Chinese animation and pushed it into different stages. Uproar in Heaven is their most renowned masterpiece. All of the animations were drawn by hand. This film influences generations of Chinese and its charm does not fade as time goes by. WAN Laiming once said that it was him dream to film stories about Monkey King, so it is another story about dreams. About fifty years have passed since it came out and when the 3-D version of Uproar in Heaven was released in China, I saw many viewers like me reviewing childhood memories and trying to find the dream we had forgotten for a long time in the cinema.

As to the ending, it is quite different from the original one of Journey to the West. Monkey King lives happily with other monkeys in Huaguo Shan in the film while in the novel finally Monkey King is defeated by Buddha and after 500 years imprisonment he accepts the task to protect Monk Tang’s Journey to the West. And it is the main part of the novel. Some may think that when Monkey King becomes Buddha’s followers, he is no longer the Monkey King who uproars the heaven.  His courage to rebelling the bigwigs , his eager for freedom and respect disappear once the Journey to West begin, so they may be disappointed. As to me, I regard it as the inevitable procedure of growing up. No one can enjoy freedom his whole life. Once we are assigned a task, we need to dedicate to it, it is a sign to show that we are already adults, and so is Monkey King.  I am glad Monkey King can still be my dream after saying goodbye to my childhood and starting the journey heading to the world of grown-ups. I hope that after watching the film you can also find or retrieve your dream.                                                                                                                                                                         Ran Wei

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