Around The World in 100 Films – South Korea

100WorldFilms - South KoreaList Item: Watch films from 100 different nations
Progress: 25/100

Right, so at the moment I am going through a bit of an animation watching phase since the film forums I frequent are doing a best animated movies poll and I want to watch as many interesting ones so I can submit a good list. So far this has lead to a number of rewatches (including a lot of Disney and the Ghost In The Shell films) but today I decided to find an animation from a country not yet covered for the bucket list…

Country: South Korea
Title: Aachi & Ssipak
Director: Jo Beom-jin
Year: 2006

South Korea may not be a country as known for their animated features as Japan or the United States but it does house some of the largest animation houses in the world including Rough Draft Korea (who have produced the likes of Adventure Time, Futurama and Samurai Jack). Their own homegrown animated features, however, have never fared well both at home or abroad.

My previous exposure to South Korean cinema is limited to The Vengeance Triology (which includes the acclaimed Oldboy) and the Golden Lion-winning Pietà. This means that I went into this post’s film, Aachi & Ssipak, expecting a lot of blood and a large dollop of bad taste. As you can tell from the picture you I may have made a correct assumption.

Imagine, if you will, a world of the future where we have run out of fuel. Quite a normal idea for a film so far. Now, the main source of alternative fuel is faeces. So the government use addictive blue ice lollies as an incentive to crap. Oh, and some people have mutated because of their addiction to these flourescent foodstuffs, call themselves ‘The Diaper Gang’ and have stuck ID rings up the anus of a blur haired girl to cash in on her bowel movements since they are unable to crap themselves… exactly.

It is an incredibly bizarre film that would be the most scatologically-focused (a phrase I am glad doesn’t exist in auto correct) film that I had ever seen if I had not watched Saló, or the 120 Days of Sodom a few months ago. There is even a scene where the blue-haired girl (exclusively referred to by the name ‘Beautiful’) has the ID chips fitted via the means of a dildo… again a very weird film.

Getting away from the brown for the moment and onto the red as there is a lot of blood in this film. Heads explode, limbs are cleaved off oh and there is a scientist who is happy as long as he has a steady supply of fresh corpses in order to produce his monstrosities. I can’t fault the action sequences though in terms of inventiveness and engagement. When you have a group of perverted smurfs fighting a Frankensteinian creature on a motorbike you sit up and pay attention.

As much as I enjoyed the senseless violence of this film one thing that struck me was the lack of female characters. There is the blue-haired porn actress named Beautiful who is, at a number of points, getting her kit off and wearing a red PVC catsuit. Then there is the child-like major whose emotional dial is always set to psychotic. Whilst films are never going to be completely 50/50 in terms of gender (and I argue never should be completely 50/50) this lack of a female character felt a bit off. Then again women probably have more sense than to be involved in a world of faeces and leave it to the men with their guns whilst they are off actually running the world. Yes, that’s got to be it.

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