Produced by the Wan brothers in the midst of World War II, Princess Iron Fan is the first feature length animated film produced in China. We follow the Monkey King and his friends on their journey to the west. As they reach Fire Mountain they are unable to pass because of the fire but learn that a special iron fan can quench the flames. However, the fan belongs to Princess Iron Fan and she will not willingly lend it to them. The film is also one of the earliest works to extensively use the rotoscoping animation process. —Cinema Epoch
Wan Laiming, the director of DA NAO TIAN GONG, was born in Nanking in 1900. He and his brothers were among the first to try their hand at animation in China and their 1928 film UPROAR IN THE ART STUDIO was China’s first ever animated film. In 1935 the Wan brothers went on to create China’s sound first animation film, THE CAMEL’S DANCE, and in 1941 they made China’s first feature-length animation PRINCESS IRON FACE. The Wan brothers’ Shanghai Animation Studios was one of the leading animation film production outfits in the world; this heyday was to come to an end however with the on set of the Cultural Revolution. Laiming Wan died in Shanghai in 1997.