Note: There will be screenings on July 31 and August 6
This is certainly not a pleasant film to watch but it’s very compelling and worth it for anybody who is interested in Korean animation and for the naysayers who could not imagine such a mature and serious drama being told in moving drawings. It takes place in a village that will soon be flooded for a dam project. The villagers routinely congregate under a large tent to listen to the preachings of a businessman and pastor who encourage them to donate money with the promise that they’ll build a new chapel for them when they are relocated. However, it’s actually a scam and this is discovered by a man named Min-chul, who has recently returned to the village. However, Min-chul is an awful person who shouts, swears and uses violence to intimidate everyone, including his wife and daughter. This makes it hard for anybody to actually consider his claims legitimately.
There’s an unpredictability to the story and some of the characters as well because we don’t necessarily know how they will react. We may root for the scam to be revealed but we also hate the only man who’s trying to do anything about it. Perhaps one thing that I noticed which I don’t think the film emphasized was how Min-chul himself is essentially the catalyst for what happens to his daughter but he does not seem to realize it. Sure, he wants to expose the scam but it seems even more important that he be “right”. It’s a tragic irony that adds to the overall story that criticizes religion and also those who blindly follow it.
The colour palette used in this film is very striking. I’d say red, orange and brown figure very prominently. Outdoor backgrounds in particular are very impressive. Animation is also improved over the director’s past feature, The King of Pigs. I wouldn’t say it’s superb or anything but it’s smoother and good enough that it doesn’t distract. The human characters are drawn realistically and they actually look Korean. This makes the film immediately distinguishable from other animation.