Chinese wood-print animation enters BIFF

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail CRI, February 8, 2012
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A picture from the animated film.

Young Chinese artist Sun Xun's latest wood-print animated film, "Some Actions Which Haven't Been Defined yet in the Revolution," has been nominated for competition in the Berlinale Shorts section in the 62nd Berlin International Film Festival (BIFF).

Other Chinese animated films, such as classic ink-wash shorts "Three Monks," "Snipe and Clam," "Landscapes," and "Mantis Catching Cicadas," have also been featured at BIFF, but in the past 14 years, no Chinese animation short has been screened at the festival.

"After so many years of absence, it's really exciting for Chinese animation to be entering the Berlin International Film Festival again," said ShangArt Gallery, which promotes Sun's works.

As this entry marks the return of Chinese animations to top-class international film festivals, movie lovers see this as a positive sign for China's animated film industry, which many say is sorely in need of innovation and development.

The announcement has also triggered lively buzz speculating a revival of the use of wood printing or ink-wash techniques in the animated film genre, which enjoyed widespread popularity decades back throughout China, leaving an impression on the memories of many Chinese.

Sun, who graduated from the print-making department of the China Academy of Fine Arts and currently resides in Beijing, used techniques he learned in his studies to create an effect that has not seen much attention in a very long time: wood-print animation.

While ink-wash techniques have been prominent for thousands of years in China, Sun's chosen method of wood printing had its "golden years" during the first several decades after the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949. However, in recent decades, the craft has seen little use.

The practice of using popular visual art techniques such as paper cutouts, soft ink-wash brush painting and wood cuts to create an animated film used to be very popular in Chinese animation, producing some beautiful classics.

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