Awaited for 12 years, Big Fish & Begonia (or Big Fish & Chinese Flowering Crabapple), directed by Liang Xuan and Zhang Chun, is expected to be released on July 8. This animation film was called as "a bottomless pit" for its long production period and several postponed releases. However, after seeing the latest character posters and the prevue, most audiences have been touched by the fine workmanship of the movie and the sincerity of the team.
So, what story is the movie going to tell?
It is a world within our world, yet unseen by any human, and the beings here control time and tide and the changing of the seasons. On the day Chun becomes sixteen, she is transformed into a dolphin to explore the human world. She is rescued from a vortex by a human boy at the cost of his own life. Chun is so moved by the boy's kindness and courage that she decides to give him life again. But to do this, she must protect the boy's soul, a tiny fish, and nurture it to grow. Through adventure and sacrifice, love grows, yet now she must release him back to the sea, back to life in the human world.
Generally, Big Fish & Begonia is a Chinese-style movie. And its inspiration comes from a dream of the director Liang Xuan 12 years ago, where a fish swimming across his mind is exactly the same with Kun, a kind of enormous legendary fish, in The Carefree Excursion by Zhuangzi.
The prevue presents Chinese traditional costumes, round earthen houses in Fujian, and Chinese typical red, all of which show the classical beauty of China.
Regarding to the latest character posters, it can be inferred that the movie has extended the romantic perceptions of the Chinese ancestors. The movie has drawn inspirations from ancient works, such as "Hairy Man", "The Deer God" from Guideways of Mountains and Seas, and the "the Osprey" from The Book of Songs, etc.
The movie, featuring Chinese ink and water colors, reveals a unique mysterious oriental flavor of the characters. It's definitely a visual feast!
The movie has attracted wide attention from abroad. Here are the comments from some foreign media.
It seems to be about magical children who can transform into flying sea creatures. We say "seems to" because there isn't a word of English in this trailer. Thankfully, you don't need to know no languages to see just how darn pretty this here trailer is.
–Sam Barsanti from the Onion (洋葱报)
It is a must-see Chinese animated feature trailer: "Big Fish & Begonia". It looks impressive.
–Jerry Beck from Indie Wire (独立通讯)
We don't know a lot about this upcoming Chinese animated film, but wow does it look pretty. It seems very unlikely that the film will get a Western release, but at least we get to see these downright beautiful trailers.
–James Whitbrook from io9 (io9博客)
A lot of foreign web users are also fascinated by the prevue. Let's see their comments.
–That threw me off too. Pretty excited for a split-second.
–It's wonderful to see something truly beautiful coming from the Chinese industry. Da Hai is something I want to see more than any anime in these coming seasons, and I'm more than sure I won't be disappointed.
–Really looking forward to the full movie! It's sooo beautiful!
Of course, Chinese netizens won't miss any chances to join the discussion about their own country.
–From this movie, kids will see a big fish, young people will see love and being loved, and the elders will see the cycle of life.
–Wow! I don't even know what to say, just… wow!
–I have to admit that the movie looks good. But it also reflects a problem in Chinese animation industry: fickleness.
–Though the general appearance of the movie looks exquisite, the story is old-fashioned. Not promising.
Seemingly, people hold different views on this movie. Will the movie be a 'superb masterpiece' or a 'rubbish shot'? Let's wait and see.
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