May 5, 2017

Leafie, a Hen Into the Wild: Cartoon Truths

When we first meet Daisy, the awkward but cute, eager-to-please chicken who's caged with hundreds of her kin, all collectively forced to eat the same slop day after day while churning out eggs, she's understandably miserable and in the midst of a hunger strike. She hates the farm. She wants freedom and the great outdoors. She's not about to buy into the tripe tweeted out by one especially annoying little bird out to sell her on the advantages of captivity. She's not that dumb! As metaphors go of being a slave to the system, Leafie is anything but subtle. But thanks to a near-death that gets her dumped in a ditch with other bird carcasses, Daisy's dream becomes a reality. Yet Oh Seong-yun's animated feature is not an upbeat tale about freedom. Daisy's life on the outside is hard. She's ostracized for being different (a barnyard animal!), ends up adopting a duckling (another species!), and is considered — frankly — too loud by her fellow creatures.

Does all this rejection and readjustment ever have her feeling nostalgic for her chicken coop days? Hell no! Freedom is rough but nothing is as bad as living an existence completely dictated by somebody else's demands. So she struts around with a perpetual cold. So she can't stay in one of the nicer neighborhoods. So she's living under the threat of a one-eyed weasel salivating for her and her kid. Anything's better than life in the pen. And that includes death!

Korean Film Caveat: The Netflix version (renamed Daisy) does not provide the option of hearing the original voice actors (who include Moon So-ri and Choi Min-sik, for God's sake). I suppose the demand for children's cartoons in Korean with English subtitles boils down to one person. That's right. Me. Yet there may be a much wider market for Leafie which would include parents eager to turn their kids into vegans. This film might should do the trick.

No comments:

Post a Comment