K-Animation Review: 돼지의 왕 (Daegieui wang/The King of Pigs)

King of pigs

Year: 2011
Country: South Korea
Language: Korean
Director: Yeun Sang-Ho
Studio Dadashow, KT&G Sangsangmadang
Screenplay: Yeun Sang-Ho
Art Direction: N/A
Animation Direction: N/A
Soundscore: Eom Been
Voice Cast: Yang Ik-joon, Oh Jung-se, Kim Hye-na, Kim Kkobbi, Park Hee-von
Runtime: 97 min
Terracotta (UK)
Trailer (subtitled):

Seen at the Terracotta on Tour screening at the Genesis Cinema thanks to winning tickets from Eastern Kicks. Special thanks also go to the Korean Film Council, which provided me with online access to the film. The King of Pigs will screen in London on March 8, 2013 as part of the Pan-Asia Film Festival and will be released on DVD by Terracotta on March 11, 2013.

This review is part of the K-Animation Season on Otherwhere.

Dark Themes:
Dark themes in Hakkyo 2013: Best enemies (top row); parental neglect & abuse (bottom left); driven to suicide (bottom right).

학교 2013 (Hakkyo 2013/School 2013, South Korea, 2013), a television drama that recently aired on KBS2, explores the life and struggles of high school students on a number of levels, tackling issues such as the pressure of academic achievement, strained relationships with parents and suicide, but also the hierarchical structures of classrooms and bullying, breaking with the silence that still surrounds many of these problems in Korean society. Hakkyo 2013 deserves praise for the candid as well as sensitive portrayal of these issues, but it does not go all the way, for although the picture it presents is surprisingly dark, it is not one entirely without hope. Indeed, as television productions face the judgment of a media regulation agency and weekly viewing figures from an audience that remains hesitant about open conversations on such issues, it is left to a few, audacious films to play out the worst scenarios imaginable until the very end. One of these films – in animated form – is 돼지의 왕 (Daegieui wang/The King of Pigs, 2011).

Continue reading “K-Animation Review: 돼지의 왕 (Daegieui wang/The King of Pigs)”

Review: 转山 (Zhuǎn shān/One Mile above aka Kora)

Year: 2011
Language: Mandarin, Tibetan
Director: Du Jiayi
Based on the original book of the same title by: Xie Wanglin
Screenplay: Zhang Jialu, Cheng Hsiao-Tse
Cinematography: Jie Du
Soundscore:  Ōshima Michiru
Cast: Chang Shuhao (also known as Bryan Chang), Li Xiao Chuan, Li Tao
Runtime: 89 min
Trailer: Trailer 1 at asianwiki.comTrailer 2 on YouTube (slightly longer)

Seen at the film’s European premiere at the Terracotta Far East Film Festival in London. The film is due to screen at the 14th Udine Far East Film Festival on April 25, 2012. 
When a film makes you cry halfway through, there is clearly something special about it. Although introduced at the Terracotta Film Festival as a production with ‘spectacular landscape scenery’, the real beauty and heart of Zhuǎn shān lie, no matter how jaw-dropping the views of the Himalayas get, in the very real depiction of human connections within the film – of strangers that find, despite the radically different worlds that they come from, that at the core they (and we) are all the same. Continue reading “Review: 转山 (Zhuǎn shān/One Mile above aka Kora)”