This relatively unsung treasure from Miyazaki nestles a tale of morality and identity inside a soaring airborne adventure — a tribute to early aviation and the reckless flyboys whose home was the open sky.
“Hayao Miyazaki pays homage to Hollywood’s wartime adventure films in this masterwork built around the adventures of a high-flying pig.” – Robert Pardi, TV Guide’s Movie Guide
Set in a mid-war Italy swept by fascism, the film follows the life of Marco, a world-weary flying ace-turned bounty hunter who plies his trade above the waters of the Adriatic. Somewhere along the way a curse has transformed Marco’s head into the head of a pig, reflecting his loss of faith in humanity. Marco meets his polar opposite in the innocent and energetic 17-year-old Fio, an aspiring female airplane designer, and the two are catapulted into an airborne adventure pursued by air pirates, the Italian army, and an egotistical American flying ace. Miyazaki fans will be familiar with the filmmaker’s fascination with flight; in this film, Miyazaki indulges his passion to the fullest, creating sweeping panoramas of wind, cloud, smoke and water, as he brilliantly captures the breathtaking feeling of soaring though the air in an open cockpit. (Dir. by Hayao Miyazaki, 1992, Japan, 94 mins, Rated PG)