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Ko - production in Busan
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  • “Attack to wishes on hero"
  • by JANG Byung-won (Film critic) /  Nov 10, 2011
  • A feature animation is now talk of the town, sweeping three awards at this year's BIFF. <The King of Pigs> effortlessly overcomes obstacles from low budget with sophisticated stroytelling and unique style. 

    The project of making the film went back earlier times. Tell us about the beginning.
    I had about fifteen different ideas of feature animations during my military service. Among them, there was a short treatment titled <1991, Our Hero Cheul>. In 2006, my friend cartoonist CHOI Gyu-seok once told in an interview that he wanted to have collaboration with me. A acquaintance of mine in publishing industry made a bridge between CHOI and me and we chose <1991, Our Hero Cheul> treatment over others. Original plan was comics version came first and feature animation followed. But we changed the plan as it would not be effective, so animation happened to come first and comics follows.
    There were other films about power relation in classroom, like <Our Twisted Hero> and <Spirit of Jeet Keun Do>. What makes <The King of Pigs> different from them?
    The essence of my original idea is about human psychology of wishing hero in any time and I see it in rather sarcastic viewpoint. In discussion between CHOI and I, our reference was more <Our Twist Hero> than <Spirit of Jeet Keun Do>. And it was during presidency of ROH Moo-hyun. We agreed this topic is something we need to talk about at that time.
    After all, <The King of Pigs> is about destroy of an icon. The hero is not destroyed by struggle between classes, but by troubles within the class.
    Chul's last line on the rooftop can be told by any ordinary man. It was important to build up Chul's character to be seen awkward when he delivers such an ordinary line. If we live in such a depressing world, it may be natural for any of us to dream to see a hero like Chul. I tried to persuade viewers to agree with Jong-suk for his every move so that they think they would've done same if they were Jong-suk at the last scene, although it'd be little hard to fully identify with him. Viewers tend to identify with a character looking most secured and it is Jong-suk.
    <The King of Pigs> is led by rhythm and energy of the story, which is rare to see in any other Korean animation. Where did you get inspirations?
    I was inspired by animations by Satoshi Kon. I believe <Perfect Blue> shows a certain level of quality in script that does not fall short to any script for live actions. <Tokyo Godfather> and <Millennium Actress> are also big inspiration all time. Minoru Furuya's work also inspired me a lot. I like the way he uses images. He always mixes gag with extreme violence, so there comes a certain tension. His works tell me that it's not only well-written script to make a good story structure.
    There must be many hardships during production. What do you think learn from your experience?
    It's not just hardship: I thought it's impossible to finish it. (laugh) There were many times I ended up with thought that this kind production was rather impossible. I don't mean just Korean situation, but everywhere. When I meet financiers from Korean film industry, nine out of ten tell me they are interested in investing in animation project. But their faces turned black after reading the script of <The King of Pigs>. There were several times like that in earlier days of pre-production. There is a clear distance between animation preferred in the industry and one that I want to make. I had to struggle over the two different paths: whether I need to finish this in whatever way, or do something else preferred by the industry. Fortunately, all the other projects didn't survive so there was no choice for me but finish this. (laugh) Anyway, I didn't hear anyone call me a jerk when it was released. When it was screened in BIFF, someone said that this story only could be made into animation film. That made me think I didn't put all my efforts in vain. Before BIFF, I picked one script for my next project, yet I could not decide whether animation or live action. In Busan, I made my final decision to make it into another animation.

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