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From Mulan to Three Kingdoms: how traditional Chinese culture inspires the global entertainment industry

(People's Daily Online)    14:03, October 24, 2018

The 1998 American animated film is based on the Chinese legend of Hua Mulan, and was well received by critics and the public, grossing $304 million, earning Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations, and winning several Annie Awards including Best Animated Feature.  (Photo Credit: Walt Disney Pictures)

Nine hundred years ago, when Guo Maoqian, an obscure governmental official, compiled a collection of ancient Chinese lyrical pieces, he could never have anticipated that two of his characters, a heroine and a veteran, would later become global stars, introducing Chinese culture to the world.

From Guo’s Anthology of Music Bureau Poetry, Hua Mulan, a legendary warrior woman, has not only inspired generations of Chinese people with lessons of perseverance and girl power, but has also served as a cultural ambassador to a foreign audience, following Disney's well-received 1998 adaptation of the heroine’s story.

“We have much to learn from the history and success of China. Traditional Chinese culture is a treasure trove of stories. By bringing them to a Western audience, and giving new life to Eastern ones, we can shrink the differences between us and make a path towards a more harmonious and empathic world,” Raymond Singer, the Annie Award-winning screenwriter of Mulan, told China Daily.

Echoing Singer, Bancroft, a veteran director at Walt Disney Animation and Sony Pictures, added that more recent US films have explored Chinese culture and environment, which has opened audiences to a whole new world of stories and characters.

Singer, along with other Disney content creators, visited Mulan’s birthplace in Hubei province in March, to get further inspiration for a new live-action version of Mulan, as well as fostering a better understanding of traditional Chinese culture.

“I think we have only just begun to see films that are influenced by Chinese culture and stories based on its folklore,” he told China Daily.


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(Web editor: Kou Jie, Bianji)

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