Chang'An Chang'An

Chinese animated epic Chang’An will release wide in its native territory this weekend, and it could be in for a huge debut after impressing with $3.2 million in preview sales last weekend.

Chang’An is produced by Light Chaser Animation, a Beijing-based studio with an impressive reputation for making films that blend high-quality animation with traditional Chinese culture and mythology. Other films produced by the studio include White Snake, Green Snake and the New Gods films Nezha Reborn and Yang Jian.

Set during the Tang Dynasty (618-907), Chang’An is based on the interweaving life stories of the legendary poets Gao Shi and Li Bai, the latter being one of China’s most famous poets ever. In the capital city of Chang’An, years after the An Lushan Rebellion, Tang general Gao Shi tells a chief eunuch in the military the sprawling story of his lifelong friendship with Li Bai.

One of Light Chaser’s most ambitious films to date, Chang’An clocks in at a 168-minutes, which makes it one of the longest Chinese animated features ever. According to director Zou Jing, production pushed Light Chaser’s crew to its limits to create the titular capital city where much of the story is told.

In an interview with China Pictorial, Zou Jing discussed the practical challenges faced in bringing their story to the screen.

The biggest challenge we faced was determining how to present the impressive prosperity of the Tang Dynasty. Before production began, our team studied historical materials, read extensively about Tang Dynasty culture and the poets’ lives, and researched the customs and rituals of that time. We invited experts from various fields to guide us to make sure the content was accurate and credible, and we also learned thoroughly about the poems in this film. Our team adopted an audio-visual language and performance design typical of animation, hoping to make the best of animation-based imagination and show poetic scenes with the greatest Eastern features.

Chang’An mixes history and myth, held together by the classic poetry of many of its real-life characters. According to Zou Jing, animation made that possible.

In this film, animation empowered us with a strong expressive means to present Chinese poetry culture in a more impressive way so that the audience could better resonate with the poetic mood and artistic concepts of the poets.

Chang’An is set up as the first in a series of New Culture films that Light Chaser plans to produce. Speaking with Global Times, Zou Jing explained, “The New Culture series will be based on actual historical figures in China. This is the core of the series.”

Box office figures were taken from ENT Group.

Latest News from Cartoon Brew