Tuesday, July 11, 2006


It is the era of the sea plane, sky pirates and the slow rise of fascism in Italy. Marco Porcellino, aka The Crimson Pig, roams the skies over the Adriatic Sea in between the two world wars. A former military pilot turned bounty hunter (between wars), he works to avoid the authorities, fend off the pirates (for a fee) and keep his plane in one piece. He lays low in a pilot-bar ran by the girlfriend of a slain companion, or nestles his beloved plane in a hidden cove where he can read cinema magazines and sip fine wine under an umbrella.

Director/Animator Hayao Miyazaki weaves his love of aviation with the stylish European romance of the 1930s and the magical realism (I'm struggling for a better phrase, but not finding it) he does so well. Think Casablanca , the Errol Flynn Robin Hood, Howard Hughes'
Hell's Angels and The Frog Prince all rolled into one, and well, that doesn't even begin to address the subplot of a 17 year old girl re-designing his plane to be built by elder Italian matrons, and later lecturing the 'hive of scum and villianry' on the subject self-respect.

There is an subtle, but even blend of comedy and pathos embodied in the lead character, who mysteriously was turned into a walking talking pig when his squadron was shot down. Yes, The Crimson Pig is quite literal, and yes pigs do fly, occassionally. Marco is like Humphrey Bogart 's Rick Blaine, an outsider respected by those around him, but divorced from the world whose problems he doesn't care about. The film has an utmost seriousness about this fact. It works well for many of the dramatic scenes with both the young girl as well as the lady barkeep who loves him dearly (regardless of his porcine nature) but is afraid to love another pilot after losing one in the past.

Female empowerment, a common theme in Miyazaki 's work and nostalgia for a lost period of aviation history and a warm sense of fun are all at work in on of Studio Ghibli's oddest (in theat it resembles Silver Screen era Hollywood) little films. Porco Rosso keeps bringing a smile to my face and a wistful tear to my eye, every time I watch it.

Come out and enjoy the high seas adventure. Tuesday July 11, 2006. Drinks at 8:00pm. Trailers & Showtimes at 8:30pm.


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