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- Movie: The King of Pigs (English title/literal title)
- Revised romanization: Dwaejiui Wang
- Hangul: 돼지의 왕
- Director: Yeon Sang-Ho
- Writer: Yeon Sang-Ho
- World Premiere: October, 2011 (Busan International Film Festival)
- Release Date: November 3, 2011
- Runtime: 97 min.
- Genre: Animation / Suspense-Thriller
- Distributor: KT&G Sangsangmadang
- Language: Korean
- Country: South Korea
After his business goes bankrupt, 30 something Kyung-Min (Oh Jung-Se) kills his wife impulsively. Hiding his anger, he seeks out his former middle school classmate Jong-Suk (Yang Ik-June). Jong-Suk now works as a ghostwriter for an autobiography, but he dreams of writing his own novel. For the first time in 15 years they meet. Kyung-Min and Jong-Suk both hide their own current situations and begin to talk about their middle school days.
At their middle school, they were classified by their wealth and grades. Kyung-Min and Jong-Suk were at the bottom. They were called pigs. They were bullied by a ruling class called dogs. When they were called pigs they got angry, but couldn't do anything against the dogs. Then a king of pigs appears - Chul (Kim Hye-Na). Kyung-Min and Jong-Suk became to rely on Chul-Yi.
Now, leading Jong-Suk to their middle school grounds, Kyung-Min discloses the shocking truth to Jong-Suk of what happened 15 years ago.
- "The King of Pigs" is the first South Korean long animation film invited to screen at the Cannes Film Festival .
Cast (voice actors)
Additional Cast Members:
- 2011 (16th) Busan International Film Festival - October 6-14, 2011 - Korean Cinema Today: Vision
- 2012 (65th) Cannes Film Festival - May 16 - May 27, 2012 - Director's Fortnight
- 2012 (11th) New York Asian Film Festival - June 29-July 15, 2012 *New York Premiere
- 2012 (16th) Fantasia Film Festival - July 19-August 9, 2012 *Canadian Premiere
- 2012 (3rd) Korean Film Festival in Australia - August 22-September 30, 2012 - Animation
- 2012 (12th) Osian's-Cinefan Film Festival of Indian, Asian and Arab - July 27-Aug. 5, 2012 - Filmcraft-Animation
- 2012 (47th) Karlovy Vary International Film Festival - June 29-July 7, 2012 - Another View
- 2012 (61st) Melbourne International Film Festival - August 2-19, 2012 - Next Gen
- 2012 (8th) Fantastic Fest - September 20-27, 2012
- 2012 (45th) Sitges Film Festival - October 4-14, 2012 - Anima't
- 2012 (32nd) Hawaii International Film Festival - October 11-21, 2012 - Spotlight on Korea *Hawaii Premiere
- 2012 (13th) San Diego Asian Film Festival - November 1 - 9, 2012 *Discoveries
Q&A (Busan International Film Festival)
Q&A for "The King of Pigs" took place after a screening of the movie at the 2011 Busan International Film Festival on October 14, 2011. Appearing as speakers are actor Yang Ik-June, actress Kim Kkobbi and director Yeon Sang-Ho. AsianWiki editor Ki Mun was there and transcribed/translated the session.
- Audience Question - The voices of the three child characters were performed by women. I would like to know if this was done to represent the characters as weak?
- Yeon Sang-Ho (director) - Originally, I planned to have these three characters voiced by men. Yang Ik-June said he couldn't voice the middle school aged version of his character. The voice of an adult man would not sound right and if performed by children it would be difficult for them because of difficult phrases. In animations, usually, women perform the voices for young male characters. The younger characters in my movie are first year middle school students, so I thought that it would be more appropriate to have women voice the school children.
- Audience Question - I have 3 questions for the director. Firstly, in your previous animation "Love is Protein," dogs and chicken appear as humans. Is there a reason you personify animals? Secondly, in "The King of Pigs," bullied kids are labelled as pigs and bullies are labelled as dogs. What class is higher than a dog? Lastly, when you were in school what class did you fall in?
- Yeon Sang-Ho (director) - In the animation "Love is Protein," low income people exploit each other to survive. So a chicken delivers a chicken. Answer to your second question - the system which made the classes of pigs and dogs is above the dogs. Answer to your last question - when I was in school I was a student who just watched what happened and felt guilty.
- Audience Question - I thought Chul-Yi resembled a pig. Was this related to Chul-Yi being called the "King of Pigs?" Did you make Chul-Yi look like a pig on purpose?
- Yeon Sang-Ho (director) - I didn't draw Chul-Yi to look like a pig. I thought Chul-Yi was a pretty boy. Among the characters, Chul-Yi was the most handsome.
- Audience Question - I get curious when I watch movies about school violence, because when I attended school there wasn't that kind of violence. Did you use school violence in this film to express certain broader thoughts or personally experience violence in school like in the film?
- Yeon Sang-Ho (director) - I witnessed the Guess Jeans incident and the pouring of urine in middle school. That really happened. I drew the characters while looking through my middle school yearbook. Even the character names are similar to certain students I knew. I think if they watch the movie they will know which character represents which student. I think nowadays, the situation in schools are worse than in the movie.
- Audience Question - In the animation, Chul-Yi continues to have evil thoughts, but, suddenly, after Chul-Yi hears his mother talking on the phone and confronts Kyung-Min's father his state of mind changes. I know it's possible to change like that, but what do you think about that? In the very first scene, Kyung-Min's wife appears to be dead. Did she kill herself or was she murdered? For the voice actors tell us how the voice acting went?
- Yeon Sang-Ho (director) - Kyung-Min's wife is dead. That scene was there to create an ominous mood from the beginning. Kyung-Min killed his wife and tried to kill himself. But, he eventually goes out to meet Jong-Suk. Chul-Yi realizes that he can not solve the class problems in his school after seeing kids who are lower than him have parents that are higher than his. At that time he is confused. The other reason his state of mind changes is because of his mother. When I made this movie I focused on making the audience feel uneasy or disturbed. Hopefully, the audience feels that.
- Kim Kkobbi (actress) - The voices for adult Jong-Suk and Kyung-Min were recorded before the animation was completed. The child characters were recorded after the animation was done. So, for the child characters, it was more difficult. The acting for an animation is much more difficult than a regular movie. In movies, I can express what I want to express, but for animations I have to sync my voice to the image and put emotional feelings into my voice, as well as keep the mindset of a boy. It was difficult, but we finished in 2 days.
- Yang Ik-June (actor) - About 5-6 years ago I read the scenario for "The King of Pigs" and that night I couldn't fall asleep. I was frightened by the social nature of the scenario. People who express this kind of passion and violence were bystanders in school. When they become adults they act these things out. I am one of them. My films are the same. 5-6 years ago, when I read the script I was shocked. The script was the best script I had read up until that point. Because of this, I kept an eye on him and watched the progress of the animation. He's also a close friend & colleague of mine. I made my first long film a little bit earlier than Yeon Sang-Ho. We talked a lot. Korea isn't known for its animations and for someone from here to make an animation like this they should be admired and respected. I hope you give him a big round of applause.
- Audience Question - I am a painter so I focused on the visual images. I know the rough, minimalistic drawings created the appropriate mood for the film, but, at the same time, I could see that spatially some things didn't seem right. For example, the small apartment had a large door which would be more appropriate in a much bigger apartment. I would like to know if this was an error or you didn't care about the spatial qualities of the drawings?
- Yeon Sang-Ho (director) - About the animation. A lot of it leaves much to be desired. We worked with a limited budget. It was difficult to mediate. Animation requires people to work together and make corrections until it is right. Cost is generated by making these corrections. As a director, I have to decide whether it needs to be corrected or not corrected, unless, we can't even complete the work because of the budget. What I focused on the most was the emotional expressions. Made sure to have a consistent type of emotions. I wrote the scenario very quickly powered by a surge of emotions. I hoped to have the animation developed like that. I think the animation went out like that.
- Audience Question - Background of the movie is set in a school. I would expect teacher's to have appeared a lot more than they did in the movie. Could you explain why?
- Yeon Sang-Ho (director) - I gave a pretty thin description of dogs, who are basically students that wields power, because stories involving students who wields power has been dealt with in various movies. What "The King of Pigs" deals with is the kids who don't have power. That's why I didn't have a lot of teacher characters. They are like irrelevant people, who don't move unless it benefits them. Somehow they wield justice.
- Audience Question - I would like to know the significance of Jong-Suk's tear in the last scene?
- Yeon Sang-Ho (director) - I think Jong-Suk's tear in the last scene feels like atonement and somehow feels liberating.
- Audience Question - You mentioned that you finished the original script very quickly. What inspired you?
- Yeon Sang-Ho (director) - I got inspired by my dream. While serving in the military, I wrote down about 10 pages of memos from a dream. When writing the original screenplay the story changed a lot. While making "The King of Pigs," the work that inspired me the most was the manga "Himizu" by Minoru Furuya. Also, while writing the original screenplay, I was inspired by Clint Eastwood's "Mystic River."
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