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Porco Rosso (Japanese: 紅の豚, Hepburn: Kurenai no Buta, lit. Crimson Pig) is a 1992 Japanese animated comedy-adventure film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki. It is based on Hikōtei Jidai ("The Age of the Flying Boat"), a three-part watercolor manga by Miyazaki.[1] The film stars the voices of Shūichirō Moriyama, Tokiko Kato, Akemi Okamura and Akio Ōtsuka. Toshio Suzuki produced the film. It was animated by Studio Ghibli for Tokuma Shoten, Japan Airlines and the Nippon Television Network and distributed by Toho. Joe Hisaishi composed the music.

Porco Rosso
Porco Rosso is about to fly with Madame Gina next to him on his plane. To their right is the film's title and below them is a plane flying in the sky - and the film's credits.
Japanese release poster
Directed byHayao Miyazaki
Produced byToshio Suzuki
Screenplay byHayao Miyazaki
Based onHikōtei Jidai
by Hayao Miyazaki
StarringShūichirō Moriyama
Tokiko Kato
Akemi Okamura
Akio Ōtsuka
Music byJoe Hisaishi
CinematographyAtsushi Okui
Edited byTakeshi Seyama
Production
company
Distributed byToho
Release date
  • July 18, 1992 (1992-07-18)
Running time
94 minutes
CountryJapan
LanguageJapanese
Budget$9.2 million
Box office$49 million

The plot revolves around an Italian World War I ex-fighter ace, now living as a freelance bounty hunter chasing "air pirates" in the Adriatic Sea. However, an unusual curse has transformed him into an anthropomorphic pig. Once called Marco Pagot (Marco Rossolini in the American version), he is now known to the world as "Porco Rosso", Italian for "Red Pig".

GKIDS re-issued the movie on Blu-ray & DVD on November 21, 2017 under a new deal with Studio Ghibli.[2]

Contents

PlotEdit

Porco Rosso, an Italian veteran World War I fighter ace and freelance bounty hunter, fends off an attack on a ferry liner by airborne pirates. Porco treats himself to dinner at the Hotel Adriano, which is run by his friend Gina.

At the hotel, the heads of the pirate gangs are contracting Curtis, an arrogant and ambitious American ace, to assist them in their next attacks. Curtis falls in love with Gina on the spot, but is frustrated to see his declarations rebuffed and her affection for Porco. After successfully executing a pirating mission, Curtis tracks down Porco, who is flying to Turin (Milan in the English language version) to have his plane serviced, and shoots him down as he experiences an engine outage, claiming to have killed him. Porco survives, though his plane is heavily damaged. Porco continues the trip by train with the remains of the plane, much to the irritation of Gina, who reminds him that there is a warrant for his arrest in Italy.

Porco arrives discreetly in Turin to meet Piccolo, his mechanic. He learns that Piccolo's sons have emigrated to find work elsewhere due to the Great Depression, and much of the engineering will have to be carried on by his young granddaughter Fio. Porco is initially skeptical of Fio's abilities as a mechanic, but after seeing her dedication in the repair project he accepts her as a competent engineer. Once Porco's plane is finished, Fio joins him on his flight home, with the justification that if the secret police arrest the team, they can say that Porco forced them to help and took Fio as a hostage. Stopping off to refuel on the way, Porco discovers that the new fascist government is beginning to hire seaplane pirates for their own use, thus putting him out of business.

Back at the Hotel Adriano, Curtis proposes to Gina but she turns him down, saying that she is waiting for Porco Rosso. Upon returning home, Porco and Fio are ambushed by the pirates, who threaten to kill Porco and destroy his plane. Fio talks them out of it, but Curtis appears and challenges Porco to a final duel. Fio makes a deal with him declaring that if Porco wins, Curtis must pay off his debts owed to Piccolo's company, and if Curtis wins, he may marry her.

That night, Porco tells a story from World War I. His entire squadron apart from himself was shot down in a dogfight with Austro-Hungarian aircraft. He recalls blacking out and awakening to find himself in complete stillness, with a white band hovering in the distant sky. Allied and enemy aircraft, flown by the airmen who died in the dogfight, fly past towards the band but ignore him. Porco soon sees that the band is in fact thousands of planes flying together. He blacks out again, and awakens flying low over the sea, alone.[note 1]

The next day, the duel is arranged and a large crowd gathers to observe. The indecisive and long dogfight between Porco and Curtis soon dissolves into a bare-knuckle boxing match when both planes' machine guns jam. Gina appears and warns the crowd that the Italian air force has been alerted and are on their way. Porco barely wins the fight upon her arrival, and hands Fio over to Gina, requesting that she look after Fio. Before the plane takes off, Fio gives Porco a kiss. With the crowd gone, Porco and Curtis agree to delay the air force together. When Curtis sees Porco's face, he reacts with surprise (implying that the pig curse has been lifted). Fio narrates that in the end Porco outflies the Italian air force and is never hunted by them again; Fio herself became president of the Piccolo company, which is now an aircraft manufacturer; Curtis became a famous actor; and the pirates continued to attend the Hotel Adriano in their old age. She does not divulge whether Gina's hope about Porco Rosso was ever realized.

After the credits, a familiar red seaplane appears soaring in the sky before disappearing into the clouds.

CastEdit

Character Original cast Disney English dub cast
Porco Rosso / Marco Pagot (Rossolini) Shūichirō Moriyama Michael Keaton
Donald Curtis Akio Ōtsuka Cary Elwes
Madame Gina Tokiko Kato Susan Egan
Mamma Aiuto Gang Boss Tsunehiko Kamijō Brad Garrett
Mr. Piccolo Sanshi Katsura David Ogden Stiers
Fio Piccolo Akemi Okamura Kimberly Williams-Paisley
Mamma Aiuto Gang Reizō Nomoto
Osamu Saka
Yuu Shimaka
Bill Fagerbakke
Kevin Michael Richardson
Frank Welker

ProductionEdit

 
Fio and Porco

The film was originally planned as a short in-flight film for Japan Airlines based on Hayao Miyazaki's manga The Age of the Flying Boat, but grew into a feature-length film. The outbreak of war in Yugoslavia cast a shadow over production and prompted a more serious tone for the film, which had been set in Croatia. The airline remained a major investor in the film, and showed it as an in-flight film well before its theatrical release.[5] Due to this, the opening text introducing the film appears simultaneously in Japanese, Italian, Korean, English, Chinese, Spanish, Arabic, Russian, French and German.

History and politicsEdit

Porco Rosso is one of the few films directed by Hayao Miyazaki in which the historical and geographical settings are clearly defined and where most of the story could have happened in the real world. Marco is an Italian hero from the First World War and is shown fighting against Austro-Hungarian fighter planes in a flashback sequence. The story is set in the Adriatic Sea east coast between Dalmatian and Kvarner islands, a fictionalized city of Fiume after its annexation to fascist Italy and Northern Italy.

Porco makes statements of his being anti-fascist, quipping during one scene that "I'd much rather be a pig than a fascist". Miyazaki shed light on the political context of the making of the film in an interview with Empire. He reflects that the conflicts that broke out during the film's production (such as those in Dubrovnik and elsewhere) made Porco Rosso a much more complicated and difficult film.[6]

Evident historical and political realism aside, at least one scholar has argued that the film's more overt historical references can be understood as representative of wakon yosai (Japanese spirit; Western techniques)—a tendency, since the Meji period, for Japanese artists to paint Europe as spectacular, while simultaneously maintaining the distance necessary to preserve a distinct sense of Japanese identity. "In Porco Rosso," states academic Chris Wood, "Europe is tamed, rendered as a charming site of pleasurable consumption, made distant and viewed through a tourist gaze."[7]

Homage to early aviationEdit

The fictional "Piccolo" aircraft company depicted in the film may be a reference to the Italian aircraft manufacturers Caproni and Piaggio. The jet shown in the last scene is very similar in concept to the Caproni C-22J, an aircraft designed by Carlo Ferrarin, a designer for Caproni, whose name is notably used in the film for Marco's Air Force pilot friend. The Jet-amphibian also has a V-tail, slightly reminiscent of the Magister jet trainer.

Porco's air-force friend Ferrarin was inspired the Italian Air Force pilot Arturo Ferrarin who flew with an Ansaldo SVA.9 from Rome to Tokyo in 1920.[8] Additionally, the Caproni Ca.309 light reconnaissance aircraft is known under the name "Ghibli", the same name as Miyazaki's and Takahata's animation studio.

While in Piccolo's engine shop, the engine to be used in the Porco's rebuilt Savoia S.21 also has the word "Ghibli" visible on its rocker covers—in design it is a narrow-angle V-12 engine, similar in form to racing engines of the period. Piccolo mentions that it was used in a racing aeroplane for the Schneider Trophy race in the year before.

In the early 1930s, Italian seaplane designers set world speed records (such as the Macchi M.C.72 designed by the Italian airplane designer Mario Castoldi). One of the test pilots killed during the attempt to set the speed record was named Bellini, the name given to Porco's pilot friend in the film.

Marco Pagot, the name of the main character, is also a homage to the Pagot brothers, pioneers of Italian animation (Nino and Toni Pagot were the authors of the first Italian animated feature film, The Dynamite Brothers, and his sons Marco and Gi Pagot were Miyazaki's collaborators in the production of Sherlock Hound).

Meanwhile, the character of Curtis is likely to have been named after the American aviation pioneer Glenn Hammond Curtiss who, along with the Wright Brothers, founded the Curtiss-Wright Corporation. Curtis' airplane is a Curtiss R3C, which was built for the 1925 Schneider Cup race (which Porco refers to when he first meets Curtis). His character is also an oblique reference to Ronald Reagan, in that his ambitions lie not only in Hollywood, but also the Presidency. The rest of Curtis' character appears to come directly from the adventure film heroes portrayed by Errol Flynn at this time—indeed, they share a jaw line—including his buccaneering derring-do, willingness to fight, and overall demeanour combined with romantic ardour. Miyazaki revisited the theme of aviation history in his 2013 film The Wind Rises.

SoundtrackEdit

Porco Rosso
 
Soundtrack album by
Released22 July 1992
LabelTokuma
  1. "The Wind of Time (When a Human Can Be a Human)" – 2:50
  2. "MAMMAIUTO" – 1:21
  3. "Addio!" – 0:37
  4. "The Bygone Days" – 2:16
  5. "A Sepia-Coloured Picture" – 0:47
  6. "Serbia March" – 1:03
  7. "Flying Boatmen" – 2:36
  8. "Doom (Cloud Trap)" – 1:23
  9. "Porco e Bella" – 1:06
  10. "Fio-Seventeen" – 2:04
  11. "The Women of Piccolo" – 2:04
  12. "Friend" – 3:04
  13. "Partnership" – 2:28
  14. "Madness (Flight)" – 2:39
  15. "To the Adriatic Sea" – 1:50
  16. "In Search of the Distant Era" – 2:18
  17. "Love at First Sight in the Wildness" – 1:11
  18. "At the End of Summer" – 1:26
  19. "Lost Spirit" – 4:11
  20. "Dog Fight" – 2:10
  21. "Porco e Bella (Ending)" – 2:35
  22. "The Time of Cherries" (sung by Tokiko Kato, arrangement by Yoko Kanno) – 2:52
  23. "Once in a While, Talk of the Old Days" (composition, lyrics, vocals by Tokiko Kato, arrangement by Yoko Kanno, Junichiro Ohkuchi) – 3:56

ReceptionEdit

Box officeEdit

Porco Rosso was the number-one film on the Japanese market in 1992,[9] grossing approximately ¥5.4 billion ($48.14 million) at the box office.[10] The film's 2008 European release later grossed $573,719.[11] In total, the film grossed $49 million in Japan and Europe.

Critical receptionEdit

It was selected as the Prix du long métrage ("Feature movie") at the 1993 Annecy International Animated Film Festival. It also made Time Out's top 50 animated movie list.[12] On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 94% based on 16 reviews.[13] Wilson McLachlan, of the Left Field Cinema, considered it "the most underrated film from the Studio Ghibli catalogue."

Possible SequelEdit

In 2011, Miyazaki said that he wanted to make a follow-up anime to the 1992 original film if his next few films following Ponyo were successful. The film's working name is currently Porco Rosso: The Last Sortie and will be set during the Spanish Civil War with Porco also returning, albeit this time as an old pilot, reflecting Miyazaki's own aging.[14] Miyazaki is writing the film, but Hiromasa Yonebayashi will direct.[15] Due to both Miyazaki and Yonebayashi's departure from Ghibli and the current hiatus of the studio itself, the current status on the proposed sequel remains uncertain.

NotesEdit

  1. ^ This aspect of the story has parallels to Roald Dahl's short story They Shall Not Grow Old.[3][4]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Kurenai No Buta (Porco Rosso, The Crimson Pig) (1992) Feature Length Theatrical Animated Film". Bcdb.com. Retrieved 2016-10-19.
  2. ^ Carolyn Giardina (July 17, 2017). "Gkids, Studio Ghibli Ink Home Entertainment Deal". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 3, 2017.
  3. ^ "Short Stories: "They Shall Not Grow Old"". RoaldDahlFans.com. Archived from the original on 2012-09-20. Retrieved 28 May 2012.
  4. ^ "Porco Rosso". Barbican Centre. Archived from the original on 2015-05-07. Retrieved 2012-04-30.
  5. ^ "Porco Rosso Review". Omohide. Archived from the original on 2014-07-26. Retrieved 13 May 2013.
  6. ^ Jolin, Dan (September 2009). "Miyazaki on Miyazaki". Empire (243): 119.
  7. ^ Wood, Chris (Winter–Spring 2009). "The European fantasy space and identity construction in Porco Rosso". Post Script. 28 (2): 112. Archived from the original on 2017-12-19. Retrieved February 18, 2018.
  8. ^ Bendazzi, Giannalberto (2015). Animation: A World History Archived 2018-06-12 at the Wayback Machine., Vol. III, p. 221. CRC Press. ISBN 1317519884
  9. ^ "Kako haikyū shūnyū jōi sakuhin 1992-nen" (in Japanese). Motion Picture Producers Association of Japan. Archived from the original on 2011-05-11. Retrieved 6 February 2011.
  10. ^ 叶精二『宮崎駿全書』173頁。
  11. ^ "Kurenai no buta (Porco rosso) (2008)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 16 December 2018.
  12. ^ [1]
  13. ^ "Porco Rosso (Kurenai no buta)". Rotten Tomatoes. Archived from the original on 2015-02-19. Retrieved 10 February 2015.
  14. ^ "Latest News - GhibliWiki". Nausicaa.net. Retrieved 2016-10-19.
  15. ^ Cath Clarke. "First sight: Hiromasa Yonebayashi | Film". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 2016-08-24. Retrieved 2016-10-19.

External linksEdit