Film noir narratives rarely relied on sympathetic female protagonists, typically resigning them to either an innocent supporting character or a devious femme fatale. While there is a femme fatale in the 1952 noir, Sudden Fear, the main character is unusual enough just being a woman, but also has the added distinction of ending in a place of moral superiority. Star Joan Crawford had previously bent this male-driven movement of post-war cinema by blending the woman’s picture (now referred to as melodrama) and the film noir with the 1945 classic, Mildred Pierce.
Prior to the release of Ne Zha, I had little experience with Chinese animation, more familiar with the more commonly distributed Japanese and French variety. Ne Zha was distinctly Chinese in the adaption of a classic folk legend, but it was also widely distributed with broad appeal. It also follows the recently popular trend of Hollywood, creating a shared cinematic universe for a series of animated films, with the second being Jiang Ziya.