X-rated feature finds laughter in an unusual subject matter

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X-rated feature finds laughter in an unusual subject matter

It’s incendiary and it’s outrageous. But it’s also funny.
It is a story about human excrement and a silly government anxious to control the substance because it is the sole source of energy in a futuristic world.
Filled with lines that are brash and sometimes downright obscene, the new X-rated Korean animation film “Aachi & Ssipak” made the audience burst into laughter when it came out in theaters nationwide last week.
The film had a long journey before it finally reached cinemas. Despite the fact that a synopsis of the movie was created in just two days by its two wacky producers, eight years passed before its cinematic release was realized.
“I am relieved,” said Joe Bum-jin, director of “Aachi & Ssipak.” “Although I feel sorry that I had to cut 15 minutes worth of some of the coolest action scenes to make the storyline natural, I still feel at ease.”
Joe, 40, a former computer graphics designer, won the grand prize at the Seoul International Cartoon Animation Festival in 1997 with a short animation film “Up and Down Story,” that he “created in just a few days.”
He then quit his job and set out to make what became “Aachi & Ssipak.”
His partner, Kim Seon-gu, 35, was a business administration major who had just a little experience working on animation films, but liked Joe’s ideas so much he joined the crew.
The two worked well together and the project started promisingly. When they released a 3-minute preview clip in 2001 for online viewers, the response from Internet users was positive. The pair thought their completed film would be in theaters by 2002.
Unfortunately, however, the Korean animation market was going through a gloomy time. In 2001, the animated blockbuster “My Beautiful Girl, Mari” failed to gain an audience and “Wonderful Days” did even worse in 2003.
Joe and Kim could not raise the investments they had hoped for. It eventually took them eight years to save the 3.5 billion won ($3.7 million) they needed to finish the film.
“We had our tough times,” said Kim. “But it’s out now and the animation feature has already been pre-sold to multiple countries, and MTV is interested in licensing rights to create an animated series on the same theme and characters.”
“This movie may not be in the mainstream of the animation market, but I think it has possibilities,” he said.
Aside from a plot that treats body waste as treasure, the action scenes in this film are as stimulating as the lines the cartoon characters spout. There are car chases, characters get shot, bombs explode and there are gory battle scenes.
“When you get shot, you bleed. That’s natural,” said Mr. Joe adding that he was not trying to make the film gruesome, but only as realistic and natural as possible. According to the director, that’s what made “Pearl Harbor” seem fake, while “Saving Private Ryan” was so realistic.
The film also uses hip young actors to supply voices for the characters. Ryu Seung-beom, a favorite in Korean action films, voices “Aachi” and Lim Chang-jung plays “Ssipak.”

by Jung Hyung-mo, Lee Min-a
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