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The King of Pigs ("Dwaejiui Wang")

Canadian Premiere
  • South Korea
  • 2011
  • 97 mins
  • HD
  • Korean
  • English (subtitles)
Hosted by Director/Screenwriter/Editor Yeun Sang-ho
WINNER: NETPAC Award, Movie Collage Award, DGK Award for Best Director, Busan International Film Festival 2011
Official Selection, Directors' Fortnight, Cannes Film Festival 2012
Official Selection, New York Asian Film Festival 2012

“Ugly, pitiless... this satire on class inequality burns like acid” — Maggie Lee, HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

"Yuen Sang-ho gets his message across with undeniable fury and a good measure of intelligence" — Richard Kuipers, VARIETY

Fifteen years have passed since Jong-suk and Kyung-min last spoke, and now they’ve reconnected, talking about their time together in high school. The memories aren’t good for Kyung-min, who was the scrawny one, nor for Jong-suk, coming from a poor home. The pair lived in fear of the bullying that the kids from better-off families subjected them to. They remember the day that little Chul came to Kyung-min’s defense, subjecting one of his tormentors to a severe punishment. Payback came in abundance but Chul responded each time with extraordinary fury, fighting all comers ferociously. Chul had nothing but contempt for the hierarchical system where the ones he called “dogs” preyed on the weaker ones, whom he called “pigs”. He embraced his low status and aimed to make life miserable for the dogs. To achieve this he worked to become a veritable monster of cruelty, and encouraged Jong-suk and Kyung-min do follow suit. Yes, 15 years have passed, and the two men talking of the good old days will soon see which of them reached their goal.

There can be no doubt that with THE KING OF PIGS, writer/director Yeun Sang-ho embarks on a career that will rock the world of animation. In the spirit of the late Satoshi Kon’s classic PERFECT BLUE, Yeun unveils a debut feature hard-hitting and violent, rooted in the darkest recesses of the human soul. Drawing even on his own memories, he balances insight and rage as he examines topics that are key in any industrialized society —suicide, intimidation, class warfare — weaving them together brilliantly. Borrowing touches from genre cinema (notably suspense and horror films), THE KING OF PIGS comes across as an animated mix of Yoon Sung-hyun’s BLEAK NIGHT, Larry Clark’s BULLY and BREATHLESS by Yang Ik-june (who voiced the character of Jong-suk here). The raw animation style, due in part to the tiny budget of $150 000, serves the film's intentions well, accenting the expressions of emotions of the protagonists. Particular attention paid to light and camera movement adds enormously to the visual aspect of this animated film. Nothing less than a masterpiece, THE KING OF PIGS is among the standouts at Fantasia 2012.

— Nicolas Archambault