Porco Rosso is the story of an atypical aviator, half-human and half pig, who flies over the World War II Italian sea, hiding in a secret beach with his plane.
His appearance changes forever after a terrible air battle where he is the only one to survive his entire patrol.
Wandering in the clouds without consciousness, he wakes up later with a curse that turns him from man into a semi-beast.
Nevertheless, as usual, he continues to do his job, accepting bounties to protect civilian flights from sea pirates.
The fascist army is constantly chasing him, but he can count on numerous friends willing to help him.
One of them is a beautiful woman who owns a luxury restaurant on an island, neutral ground for airmen of every faction.
She is actually in love with him, but her husband was one of the pilots who died in the famous mission he returned as a pig.
This inner conflict makes sure that the two never get together, even if their feelings are evident to everyone.
Another friend owns a small repair company to which he entrusts his airplane after a defeat against a brilliant American rival.
Indeed, the pirates hired the mercenary to eliminate him, which led to the exasperation of not carrying out robberies and kidnappings.
His friends’ young and beautiful nephew is heading to repair his airplane and then join in his mechanic adventure.
At that point, there is the pig and American pilot final dispute, always with the fascist enemies ready to capture him at all times.
Better pig than fascist
Porco Rosso is a pacifist film about the love for life, profoundly admiring the Italian country’s beautiful land and seas.
The pig is a man who travels happily free among the blue skies and then returns every time to shelter in his little secret beach.
His life is an adventure with its moral code, fighting enemies with resolution but never killing or harming anyone.
Even his pirate enemies respect him while intensely hating him at the same time because he always ruins their criminal plans.
When they take on the vain but skillful American pilot to fight him, even he experiences the mysterious charm of the pig.
Although this story takes place during the painful period of darkness and fear of fascism, Italians live independently and happily.
None of them doubt or attempt to betray the pig because they stay together against the cruel dictatorship regime.
Indeed, there is no difference between the pig, partisans, and seas pirates for the army.
In this regime, sadly, anyone who is not fascist is automatically a criminal.
One of the most iconic moments of this movie is when he meets an old friend in a cinema who still works for the government.
At his request to turn himself in and start flying warplanes for the fascists, he gives the famous answer:
I’d rather be a pig than a fascist
This sentence is the essence of this character, unwilling to compromise by selling his soul to evil despite any consequences.
Love, pacifism and planes
I’ve always admired every Hayao Miyazaki animation movie, but Porco Rosso is indisputably my favorite.
Not only because it takes place in my beloved Italy, tasting the smell, colors, and the food.
But mainly because it is the work that best encloses all the themes dear to the great Japanese director.
It’s no accident that I dedicated an entire article to him about some of his favorite gems.
The adventure travels at the pace of children’s comedy while also dealing with themes important to adults.
In the 30s’ Italy, it wasn’t easy to live, but this story’s characters still be free in their way.
While fighting each other, the free time is for friendship, drinking, eating, and having fun.
Even the pirates who are supposed to be the bad guys are basically like a bunch of not-so-smart-but-happy kids.
During the pig’s adventures, I especially loved the moments safe in the quiet of his beach.
I seemed to see my youth again in that beautiful little oasis, away from rival airmen and hated fascist enemies.
He, too, as an innocent being, without worries, under the sun with his feet in the sea with my parents.
The addition of the little girl/mechanic is a fun and romantic element to another love story that will never happen.
So then the other woman’s restaurant he loves is an oasis of peace for everyone.
A place where time stops, war doesn’t exist, and men don’t die for the insane desires of others to conquer.
In a word, Porco Rosso is an experience of ecstasy animation that every child should watch once in life.
And if you are anything like me, this magical world will become a shelter for your most challenging moments.