Swinging into the future

By Wang Kaihao ( China Daily ) Updated: 2016-01-28 08:55:03
Swinging into the future

Zhang Jinlai, 57, better known as Liu Xiao Ling Tong, mimics a monkey's facial expressions. Zhang is a fourth-generation monkey opera performer in his family.[Photo by Jiang Dong/ China Daily]

But Zhang is not perturbed: "We always talk about 'letting Chinese culture go abroad', but that should not remain only a slogan.

"We need to abandon a narrow vision and embrace efforts aimed at promoting Chinese culture."

This may also explain why he decided in 2015 to cooperate with Paramount Pictures to create a blockbuster based on Journey to the West.

Though the film was originally planned to be released this year to mark the Year of the Monkey, its has been delayed, he says.

"I will perform Sun Wukong again," he says, his eyes filling up with excitement.

"We will use the best special effects from Hollywood, but there is something that cannot be replaced by technology-the Monkey King's eyesight.

"As a hero for the Chinese, the Monkey King deserves a position like Spiderman or Superman. It's time to make another classic-just like what we did 30 years ago."

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About Journey to the West

Journey to the West is a Chinese novel written in the 16th century by Wu Cheng'en. The novel is based on the story of legendry Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907) Buddhist monk Xuanzang, who traveled to today's India seeking sacred texts. The novel mixes Chinese folk mythologies, Buddhism and Taoism, and creates three disciples who follow Xuanzang to defeat evil and monsters: Sun Wukong (the Monkey King), Zhu Wuneng (a pig monk also known as Zhu Bajie) and Sha Wujing.

Being an important source for traditional Chinese operas, the novel also remains popular in the mass entertainment scene in China and nearby regions since it was first adapted into a Chinese silent film in 1927. In the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong, and Japan, there are altogether more than 10 TV series based on Journey to the West, besides numerous films, comic books and animations.

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