Screened as part of NZIFF 2004
It’s not clear how the Italian aviator hero, Porco Rosso, became a pig – he reveals only that he prefers ‘being a pig to being a fascist’ – but he’s the porcine Clark Gable, the daredevil nemesis of the air pirates who rove the Mediterranean skies in the late 20s. His sidekick, in true Miyazaki style, is the tomboyish Fio, a gifted engineer-cum-mechanic. She’s cute, hardy and industrious, and also proves to be headstrong, fearless and resourceful. Introduce a vain and ambitious villain of an American pilot, the fascist secret police and a band of air pirates with a code of honour – and the ingredients are in place for a spectacular duel in the sky.
“Miyazaki has a true love of old planes and he and his team of animators have brought them to exhilarating life. Just as their hero risks everything in the air, they take the art of animation to new limits. The result is a beauty beyond mere realism. This is the way flying ought to look and feel.” — Mark Schilling, Japan Times