CG Animation Short Film “The Legend of Shangri-la” is adopted from the same named poem by Dong Jin dynasty’s famous poet Tao Yuan Ming. IDMT applied Chinese traditional painting techniques to CG layout and Shan-Xi shadow puppet show’s unique movement style to CG animation. The combination results in this original 3D CG short film with its unique visual style. It tranquilly depicts Peach Blossom Valley (or known to the western culture as Shangri-la), the earthly paradise, in Dong Jin people’s mind and their desire to return to happy and harmonic life.
This cartoon based on Tao Yuan Ming’s famous poem “The Peach Blossom Spring 桃花源記”.
It was written during a time of political instability and national disunity, the poem describes how a fisherman haphazardly sailed into a river in a forest made up entirely of blossoming peach trees, where even the ground was covered by peach petals. When he reached the end of the river (or spring in some translations), the source turned out to be a grotto. Though narrow at first, he was able to squeeze through and the passage eventually reached a village with animals and people of all ages.
The villagers were surprised to see him, but were kind and friendly. They explained that their ancestors escaped to this place during the civil unrest of the Qin and they themselves had not left since or had contact with anyone from the outside. As a result they had heard nothing of subsequent changes in political regimes.
The fisherman was warmly received by the hospitable villagers and stayed for over a week. Upon leaving, he was informed that it was worthless to reveal this experience to the world. However, he marked his route on his way out with signs and later divulged the existence of this idyllic haven to others. They tried to find it repeatedly but in vain.
The expression shìwaì taóyuán (世外桃源 ‘the Peach Spring beyond this world’) has become a popular Chinese expression, meaning an unexpectedly fantastic place off the beaten path, usually an unspoiled wilderness of great beauty.
The text inspired many later poems, some music compositions and a modern Taiwanese play-turned-movie, Secret Love for the Peach Blossom Spring. In some of the poems, the inhabitants of the villages were immortals.
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