The Satellite Girl and Milk Cow ("Wuribyeol Ilhowa Eollukso")
“An explosion in sheer imagination, a triumph of mad creativity” William Schwartz, HAN CINEMA
Okay, so there’s this observation satellite called KITSAT-1that’s been orbiting over Korea for many years, watching and listening, wondering about this human thing called love. So she crashes back down through the stratosphere and becomes this cute cyborg girl named Il-ho. Meanwhile, hapless Kyung-chun, a mediocre musician dropped by his flighty girlfriend, has suffered the fate of the brokenhearted — he’s been transformed into an animal (a cow, specifically). Kyung-chun is pursued by a monstrous furnace-robot called the Incinerator, as well as the nefarious teleporting villain with a magic toilet plunger who steals the livers out of despondent animals like Kyung-chun to sell on the black market. But leaping to our bovine protagonist’s defense is none other than the famous wizard, Merlin! Who, by the way, has been transformed into a roll of toilet paper — yeah, don’t ask, it’s embarrassing.
Will Kyung-chun regain his true human form? Will Il-ho survive her imminent technological breakdown? Will their two hearts come together as one? Oh, and why is the dog washing the dishes? And seriously, what’s the deal with Merlin?!
Writer/director Jang Hyung-yun’s earlier animated shorts turned a lot of heads. His first feature film will have heads spinning. He’s taken a familiar trope of Asian animation — fantastical romance between misfits — and turned it upside down and inside out. Jang’s world owes as much to Adult Swim as it does to Japan’s Miyazaki and Tezuka, serving up edgy gags that push the envelope without lowering the bar, and of course a remarkable deadpan surrealism that maintains a cohesive crackpot logic. Following a wave of successful mainstream animated features, of the polite “family-friendly” variety, South Korea now unveils a cluster of cartoons for the rest of us. THE SATELLITE GIRL AND MILK COW joins THE FAKE (also at Fantasia this year) in showcasing the energy, originality and fearlessness that is coming to define the country’s own voice in animation.
— Rupert Bottenberg