The Korean Cultural Service is offering up four screenings of some recent Korean animation including the brutal bullying thriller, "The King of Pigs."


According to the press notes for The King of Pigs, director Yeun Sang-Ho based the film on his own experiences in middle school in his native South Korea. Even if the what's onscreen is just a partial exaggeration, it had to have been a harrowing, horrible time for him and any kid dubbed one of the "pigs" in the film. In the viciously stratified all boys school that Yuen puts on the screen, the pigs are at the very bottom of the social castes, weak or poor kids, or kids who just aren't connected. Their bullying at the hands of the better-of "dogs" is really a case of the old saying that crap rolls downhill: the dogs are beaten and harassed by upperclassmen who set the rules and those beatings are passed down to the lowly pigs.

In Yuen's story, Jong-Suk and Kyung-Min are two such "pigs" whose present-day lives as adults are irrevocably damaged by those days. But before you go thinking that the shifting timeline of The King of Pigs is simply a weepy animated drama about bullying, consider the character that Kyung-Min and Jong-Suk can't stop obsessing over in their adulthood: the damaged, dangerous Chul-Yi, another boy from their class who isn't afraid of the bullies because he's some kind of terrible monster himself. How these three boys' lives and intersect lays the groundwork for their tragic futures, and Yuen realizes it as a steady, slowly-building nightmare.

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