monkey and heroine in action
Film Name Fire Ball
Programme World Cinema
Director Wang Toon
Production Wang Film Productions
Country Taiwan
Year 2005
Runtime 87
Film rating PG


North American premiere

Fri. Nov. 17, 19:30, The Gig Theatre

Fire Ball traces a chapter in the quest of the monk Xuanzang and his protectors, Sun Wukong (the Monkey), Zhu Bajie (the Pig) and Sha Wujing (Sandy) for the Sutras, a set of Buddhist religious texts that point the way towards enlightenment. When their way is barred by a mountain of flames, they must find a way to retrieve a magical fan that will blow out the flames – but the fan is carefully guarded by a sorceress who is deathly ill, and the sorceress’ daughter is convinced that the only way to save her life is to slay Xuanzang and brew the cure with his bones that are untainted by sin.

Curator's notes:

Finally, a true telling of the Chinese classic Journey to the West, which was made famous in anime circles by Dragonball. And just like so many other of Taiwan’s industries have begun to self-produce and innovate instead of subcontracting behind-the-scenes for foreign companies, the studio behind Fire Ball has taken the leap towards finding its own voice, having garnered a huge amount of experience in a fiercely competitive industry. Wang Film Productions was founded in 1978, and has produced more than 3,300 TV episodes (including The Smurfs, The Jetsons, Rugrats, Animaniacs and Tiny Toon Adventures) and 62 feature-length films to date. If Fire Ball is any indication of what Taiwan's animation industry is capable of, its future is bright indeed.