Artist: Lily & Honglei
Medium: Oil-painting, digital animation and sound
Duration: 5 minute 30 second
Completion Year: 2011
Inspired by Peony Pavilion, a popular Chinese play written by Tang Xianzu in the 16th century, the animated film visualizes contemporary issues of a multicultural society that is based on consumerism.
‘The young maiden in the story, Du Liniang, falls in love with a scholar whom she's only met once in a dream and dies longing for him. The scholar, Liu Mengmei, happens to be a real person and through sheer accident ends up staying in her town. Discovering Du’s self-portrait, Liu immediately admires her beauty. Eventually, Liu meets Du's ghost, disinters her body, and she comes back to live,’ J. Lau summarizes the plot in ‘A Chinese love story from beyond the grave.’
In our animation version, the story unfolds in a completely different circumstance. The female protagonist appears as a maiden wandering around in a shopping mall, and falling into a dream between life and death, while the male protagonist is an artist who portrays deceased people in the mall, and strives to revive the spirit through his symbolic endeavor. The important scenes, such as Spring Outing, Interrupted Dream, Search for the Dream, Painting a Portrait, The Soul Departs, are recreated with new context to reveal spiritual struggles seeking resurrection of soul by Chinese immigrants.
The digital animated film is based on oil paintings, with kunqu excerpts as the soundtrack. The lyrics include famous verses by Tang Xianzu:
‘Where is the pleasant day and pretty night? Who can enjoy contentment and delight?’
‘As innocent as flowers, unaware of the time sweeping past like a river’