to racial allegory world. It is a tough place to live in, if you happen to be
the only kid with any color or pigment. However, it is no picnic dealing with
his murderous rage either. Homogeneity predictably breeds xenophobia and
cruelty in Hur Bum-wook’s animated feature, On
the White Planet,
screens today during the 2015 Fantasia International Film Festival in Montreal.
it was a perversely rare recessive gene or perhaps a form of mutation, but
somehow the outcast orphan developed skin color. This was not well received by
the wider, colorless world. It destroyed his parents and reduced him to a state
of feral rage. Living off garbage, the pre-teen preys on the colorless adults
who refused to accept him. Having neither personal ties nor any great moral
compunctions, the outcast is a perfect candidate to become a ruthless gang leader’s
latest patsy. Like a dystopian Fagin, the malevolent mastermind entices street
urchins with dreams of empowerment, only to exploit them for his own benefit.
are all kinds of tell-tale signs the shunned protagonist is getting involved
with a crew far worse than the cops he despises. Nevertheless, the promise of
organized support and structure for his killing spree is too tempting to pass
up. Unfortunately, his supposed protectors soon show their contemptible true
colors, so to speak. Even his young fellow ragamuffin-ruffians are only
stringing him along, hoping to score the bounty on his head.
any of this sounds subtle, than you are profoundly misunderstanding what White Planet is all about. Yet, the
black-and-white dichotomy is somewhat misleading in a film produced on the
Korean Peninsula, home of two of the most racially and ethnically homogeneous nations
on earth (according to Prof. Wiki).
on the White Planet is nasty,
brutish, and downright predatory. Frankly, the only character who is not
constantly looking to sell-out everyone else is the young kid, but he is
generating a massive body count. Let’s be honest. Hur simply hits the audience
over the head with ideological point-scoring. Nevertheless, he has crafted
quite an unsettling fable. His animation is deceptively simple, finding stark
power in the scarred white-and-gray wasteland of the near future (or the
alternate now). He also renders some unconventional but effective action
Not surprisingly, White Planet is a little thin when it comes to characterization.
Such is usually the case with both allegory and propaganda. Hur’s film could be
described as either, but its distinctive look still merits attention from
animation connoisseurs. Recommended for style rather than substance, On the White Planet screens this
afternoon (7/24) as part of this year’s Fantasia.
Labels: Animated films, Fantasia '15, Korean Cinema