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Hollywood screening of 'Uproar/Havoc in Heaven'

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Havoc in HeavenOn Wednesday, October 17, there will be a rare screening by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences in the Linwood Dunn Theatre, 1313 Vine Street in Hollywood, of the 1961/1965 Chinese feature Uproar in Heaven (also translated as Havoc in Heaven), directed by Wan Lai-Ming and Tang Cheng at the Shanghai Animation Film Studio.

This film is considered the culmination of classic Chinese animation, and was completed and won several international awards just before the Cultural Revolution tore the Shanghai studio and the entire Chinese animation industry apart.

The feature tells the beginning of the classic Monkey King legend in which Sun Wu-kung (Monkey) gains his powers and steals the Dragon King’s magic staff, and makes such a nuisance of himself that the Buddha and the King of Heaven trick him by inviting him to come to Heaven to assume an important heavenly post. Monkey is mollified until he finds out that the important post is only the very minor one of stablemaster of the heavenly court’s horses.

Outraged, Monkey goes on a rampage and tears Heaven apart, defeating General Li and the God of the North Star who are sent with their armies to arrest him. (This film does not cover the later part of the legend in which he is sent with Pigsy and Sandy to escort the monk Hsuan-Tsung to India.) The film is presented in the stylized manner of Beijing Opera productions.

This print has been digitally restored and converted to 3D. It is in Chinese with English subtitles. It is 92 minutes long; the complete movie is 106 minutes. Tickets are $5.00; those who want to see it are urged to order tickets in advance online or by mail because the screening is expected to sell out. See the Cartoon Brew’s announcement for the movie’s 1:03 minute trailer in Chinese.

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I recently got to know the "style and manner" of Opera in Beijing, and I must say I am very impressed. It makes me happy to see a production such as Havoc in Heaven receive rich influence from the performing art.

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About the author

Fred (Fred Patten)read storiescontact (login required)

a retired former librarian from North Hollywood, California, interested in general anthropomorphics