Thursday, 16 August 2012

Emotional Connection with a Piglet

Movie poster for The Pork of Music
I have yet to see The Pork of Music, starring the loveable silly piglet McDull, but already the locally-animated movie is a big hit on the mainland.

It starts showing in Hong Kong today but since it was released last month in China, the film has struck an emotional chord with audiences.

"I didn't expect so many would leave the cinema in tears,"said Brian Tse Lap-man, the husband of Alice Mak Ka-bik, co-creators of McDull.

"Perhaps our story of how McDull and his folks struggled to survive in a twisted society has touched an even more twisted society, to the point they shed tears over it. That goes beyond my script," he said.

In The Pork of Music, the piglet's former kindergarten is fighting for survival. The headmaster is going to lose the rooftop day care to a big property project, and the only thing the children have left are the songs he taught them as a choir.

"Even when they are ground down to nothing, they still have music, and no one can take that away from them," Tse said.

"The headmaster's persistence in imparting music to the young reflects a good number of Hong Kongers in their pursuit of their goals. Even if they fail in the end, something precious will stay on, and that's the spirit we champion."

"Our stories are never written for a particular age group, and we hope everyone will get something of their own out of them," Mak said.

The film includes interpretations of classical music performed by the Hong Kong Sinfonietta, as Tse is a flautist by training. For example, Schubert's Impromptu in B Flat Major becomes Breeze in Spring Kisses Me Like an Egg Tart.

Cultural critic Perry Lam believes its McDull's lack of intelligence that appeals to audiences.

"We Hong Kongers have been exploited so much by the developers that we feel safe with the piglet's dumb image, which may even garner for some a feeling of superiority," he said.

Sounds like the movie is already a Hong Kong classic.

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