Animation in 1941: Wartime Allegory for Children

Page 2

That there is a hidden allegory of national resistance is made clear in the film’s preface, possibly an after-the-fact insertion.

(Preface): “Journey to the West” (ca 1592) is a marvel of story telling for children. But is is often mistaken by the to be a Supernatural Romance. Our film takes its story from this book….but our intent is to educate the minds of children. So we have discarded the superstitious portions and retained only the essential: We pay no heed to Gods or Ghosts, and merely tell the story of how the monk Xuanzang (Sanzang) and his 3 companions found their way blocked by the fiery pit…[and how the got past it]. For this episode teaches how when in life one runs up against an obstacle, as in the pursuit of the Holy Texts, it is only by bolstering faith and resolve and uniting with the great masses (sic) that our heroes were able in the end to acquire this fire-quelling plantain fan!”

The Film, Tieshan gongzhu (or Plantain Princess, Bajiao Gongzhu), 1941, 1 hr 20 mins.

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