China's mainland and Taiwan have jointly produced a cartoon based on a Chinese Romeo and Juliet-type story and given Western names to the legendary lovers who hadbeen on the lips of Chinese from generation to generation.
In the cartoon version of "Butterfly Lovers", the hero Liang Shanbo is called "Leon", and his lover Zhu Yingtai "Jo".
The cartoon, a joint product of Shanghai Animated Film Studio and a leading Taiwanese filmmaker, made debut on the mainland Friday and will be staged worldwide to entertain Chinese-speaking audience.
Filmmakers in Shanghai said they had used state-of-the-art technologies in the production and referred to Disney techniques to highlight its comic effect.
The cartoon, dubbed by noted Taiwanese stars, has retained the original plot of the story but with a faster rhythm to cater to the interests of young viewers.
The Butterfly Lovers dates back to the Eastern Jin Dynasty, more than 1,600 years ago and has been handed down from generationto generation in forms of fairy tales, novels, operas, ballets, symphonies, TV plays and films. It has gained a growing fame in the form of violin concerto performed by leading violinist Yu Linain 1959.
Dubbed "Chinese Romeo and Juliet" by late Premier Zhou Enlai, the butterfly lovers' story tells of how a local magistrate had fallen in love with a plutocrat's daughter and how they had been separated by the feudal hierarchy before they both died and turnedinto eternal butterflies.
China is applying to inscribe the classic as a masterpiece of oral and intangible cultural heritage by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
(People's Daily January 18, 2004)