Porco Rosso (1992)
Dir: Hayao Miyazaki
“It’s a flying pig… how is that not at the top of your list?”
Thus, my brother convinced me to watch this Studio Ghibli film. It’s the same director as My Neighbour Totoro, which I greatly enjoyed before, and yes, it’s essentially about a flying pig.
Porco Rosso (‘Crimson Pig’ in Italian as he is Italian) was a fighter pilot, but deserted the army, fled Italy to avoid arrest, and now lives in the Adriatic working as a bounty hunter of seaplane pirates. However, he has the face of a pig, which we’re told is some sort of curse. He refers to himself as a ‘pig’ numerous times, yet acts in a way that displays great humanity and honour.
This film is really born out of Hayao Miyazaki’s love for aviation, especially that of this era, around the first world war. The film features a number of lengthy aerial sequences, and the planes are beautifully drawn, with great attention to detail and accuracy rather than the over-simplified planes you might often see in animation. Miyazaki often features flying in his films, and there are all sorts of wonderful aircraft many of which are more ‘concepts’ rather than something that would actually fly.
It’s a lovely film with many hints to a far more complex back story, great humour especially from the inept pirates and a wonderful Italian plane-building team. There’s even a really beautiful love story, with lots of history, a strong-minded woman, and the complex eponymous pilot.
Miyazaki has returned to this character for a sequel, which apparently is due out later in 2013, so you had better get this watched soon so you can continue with his adventures when it’s released.