Hey New York, Catch Some Free Korean Animation This Month!

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

The free screenings, being held at the Tribeca Cinemas on Tuesdays starting January 15th at 7pm, will be kicked off by the wrenching "The King of Pigs" and run through February 26th. It's not exactly easy to see homegrown Korean animation, and based on the offbeat samples I've had over the years, it's worth your time to jump at the opportunity to see some of this often dark and daring stuff. If you can scrounge up a copy, I recommend seeing 2006's funny, gross, and violent "Aachi and Ssipak" which features among other things, a poo-powered future with "Crying Fist" actor Seung-beom Ryu as one of the leads.

Here's the full lineup and dates:

JANUARY 15 – "The King of Pigs" (2011)

The first animated Korean film to screen at Cannes, the award-winning The King of Pigs is near-perfect cinema visualized through jaw-dropping animation. Kyung-Min’s business is failing and he’s just murdered his wife. On top of that, he can’t stop thinking about his middle school days, back when he was one of the lowly, bullied “pigs.” His old school friend, Jong-Suk, agrees to meet, and each man tells the other polite lies about their wrecked lives. But both of them have one thing on their minds: their old class comrade Chul-Yi, the quiet, deadly boy in the hoodie who fought back against their aggressors and became, for one blazing moment in time, The King of Pigs. An intensely brutal, not-to-be-missed masterpiece.

JANUARY 29 – "Padak Padak" (2012)

In Korea’s surprisingly powerful take on Pixar’s Finding Nemo, a mackerel from the sea named Flappy ends up caught in a net and dumped carelessly into a restaurant tank. A pessimistic old flatfish, who has somehow avoided death for ages inside the tank, becomes her confidant and mentor...even if his means for survival border on cowardice.

Very quickly, Flappy refuses her fate and becomes determined to make it out of the tank and back to the ocean – even if that means going against the old flatfish and shattering the hierarchy of the tank. A feel-good adventure for the whole family, Padak Padak combines computer animation with traditional hand-drawn art, delivering a funny, lovable film that’s also packed with social drama and subtext.

FEBRUARY 12 – "The House" (2010)

The House, which echoes of the wildly surreal worlds seen in Spirited Away, focuses on Ga-young, a young woman who moves to an old town where she meets Zipsin, the spirit of a house that is soon to be demolished. Whisked away on an enchanted adventure, Ga-young and Zipsin seek out a new spirit who may be able to help them – and together, they hatch a scheme to save the house from those who don’t believe in its magic.

FEBRUARY 26 – "The Window" (2012) accompanied by short films

North American Premiere

The King of Pigs director Yuen Sang-ho delivers yet again, with his stunning new short feature, The Window. Private Jung is proud to be a member of a leading military division; but after Private Hong joins, disruption runs abundant. Jung tries in vain to train Hong, who is indifferent to everything, but the new cadet only ends up causing more trouble. And after an altercation, their woes become even more intense, leading to a shocking, powerful conclusion.

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