Fourth Cry of the Monkey

Artists: Lily & Honglei
Medium: Digital animation, oil on paper, soundtrack
Running Time: 7-munite
Completion Year: 2008

The video is a 7-minute animation based on a series of large-scale oil paintings, assembling fragments of Chinese history. Originally, “Fourth Cry of the Monkey (四声猿)” is the title of an opera (杂剧) written by a legendary Chinese  artist Xu Wei (徐渭) during the 16th century. The opera’s narrative structure and symbolic approach inspire Lily & Honglei to create this short film concerning environmental and cultural disasters brought by ambitious project initiated by the Party.

The film starts with a looting scene in Forbidden City, in where the breaking of a jade jar symbolizes endless trauma in Chinese culture. In a picturesque imperial garden, falling petals are seemingly morning the elapsed flowering season and loss of beauty. The scene then switches to Three Gorges, the region breeding Chinese culture. Shrill cries of monkey are echoing over mountains and river, bewailing the destiny of the soon-to-be submerged landscape. On a cliff of beautiful Huang Mountain,  famous ‘mad drummer,’ the naked scholar Mi Heng is cursing and warning those in power with the sound of  drumming. In the last scene, at the valley of Three Gorges, Lady White Snake is watching a town collapsing in an earthquake, and leaves with her swords.


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© Lily & Honglei 2007-2008. All rights reserved.