Director: A Da (1980)
Cartoon film, a gem in the enchanting flower in the garden of Chinese films, usually takes Chinese fables, fairy tales and folk stories as subject matters, and adopts unique way of expression much influenced by traditional fine arts, delivering fancy, human and impressive art inspiration to the audiences. Art films are loved by numerous filmgoers at home and abroad, and are a genre that has won the most awards internationally.
Three Monks, directed by A Da, is an adaptation of a folk proverb: one monk will shoulder two buckets of water, two monks will share the load, but add a third and no one will want to fetch water.
With a simple and fresh directing style, the film depicts the comparisons of the different attitudes of the three monks when staying alone, staying with one other, and staying with two others. Vivid details, expressive movements, and distinctive characters combine together to make an excellent cartoon film. Without any dialogue, the film integrates the flavor of Buddhism with modern style in order to bring out the dispositions of the characters.
It won the Outstanding Film Prize of the Ministry of Culture, the Best Animated Film Prize at the First Golden Rooster Awards, and four international prizes. It is one of the Chinese animated films that have won the most prizes.
(chinaculture.org January 19, 2004)