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The King of Pigs at Pan-Asia Film Festival tonight

the porcine triumvirate

the porcine triumvirate

Yeun Sang-ho’s bleak Orwellian Kore-anime is screening 11.30 tonight at the Rio Cinema as part of the Pan-Asia Film Festival. Don’t miss this one. Here’s what I had to say about it for a Sight & Sound piece on last year’s London Korean Film Festival:

“If Padak is undoubtedly harrowing and may well put younger viewers off eating fish for life, it does still come with something like a happy ending, whereas Yeun Sang-ho’s extraordinary The King of Pigs (Dae gi eui wang), made for an exclusively adult audience, leaves little room for anything but abject bleakness, despite its essentially similar themes and allegorical intent. Here, instead of a fish tank, we get the claustrophobic milieu of a middle school where pupils’ social differences are played out through the ‘class’ conflict of vicious bullying, leaving irreparable scars. When we first meet 30-year-old one-time schoolfriends Jong-suk and Kyung-min, the former is still being humiliated in the workplace, and has just beaten up his girlfriend in a jealous rage, while the latter has just murdered his own wife in the wake of business bankruptcy.

As these two haunted, hopeless men meet for the first time in 15 years, they reminisce about their old schoolfriend Chul, a disturbed outsider who always hit back hard against the three downtrodden boys’ more privileged tormentors – yet just as they avoid all mention of their present circumstances, Jong-suk also suppresses a key part of Chul’s tragic story.

The King of Pigs

As the grim truth eventually outs, we bear witness to a hidden legacy of oppression, violence and despair from which there can be no easy escape, and which reflects the hierarchies that continue to stratify Korean society. The King of Pigs is a relentlessly depressing affair, but so compelling and complex in its telling, and so elegantly austere in its animation, that you’ll want to see it at least twice.”

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This entry was posted on March 8, 2013 by in Uncategorized.

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