49. Porco Rosso (1992)

I love animation, and especially anime produced by Japan’s Studio Ghibli. It’s always a bit of a treat when I see their work, and Porco Rosso is no exception.

Porco used to be an Italian fighter pilot in the First World War. He was cursed and turned into a pig, so then began work as a bounty hunter chasing air pirates in his distinctive scarlet coloured plane. He has a close female friend, Gina, who owns the local hotel, where the pirates and Porco meet on neutral ground, and we soon realise that Gina is secretly in love with him.

After a meeting with an American pilot, Curtis, who desires to join the pirates, Porco crashes and Curtis claims he shot him down. However, Porco manages to get the damaged plane to his mechanic, Piccolo, in Milan, but the plane is in such disrepair that Piccolo suggests that Porco needs a new one. Piccolo’s talented niece, Fio, takes on the job, but when the secret police discover Porco is in town, Fio and Porco have to escape in the untested new aircraft. And waiting for them is the dastardly Curtis, who wants a final showdown with Porco…

The animation is first class, and the flying scenes are pure boys own stuff. I particularly like the fact that both Gina and Fio are strongly independent, intelligent and brave, which is a common trait in a number of Hayao Miyazaki’s films. The story has an anti-war theme, and the pirates are funny, plus the planes and the lost love element of the tale even made me think of Casablanca! A gem of a movie.


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