This feature-length cartoon, made by the multi-talented Danish daily newspaper strip cartoonist, children’s book illustrator and kid’s television director Anders Morgenthaler, is a genuine shocker. Essentially, it’s a tirade against the porn industry, played out as a brutal revenge thriller and rendered in the bold style of a Japanese anime.
The relatively simple story follows a preacher named August as he returns home from missionary work abroad following the death of his sister Christina, a porn star. The continued exploitation of pornographic images of his dead sister, together with the realisation that her 5-year-old daughter has been abused by her mother’s acquaintances, sets August off on a righteous mission to put an end to the Paradise Lust porn company.
The scenes of graphic violence that follow, while not quite of Biblical proportions, are certainly eye-opening, not least because of their relative lack of familiarity in western world animation. Morgenthaler’s angry attitude towards pornography is made explicit in the film’s extreme content, though one might argue the violence could provoke another kind of voyeurism in some viewers. That said Travis Bickle’s not dissimilar (in motivation at least) violent revenge spree hasn’t tarnished the reputation of Taxi Driver any. That an animated protagonist is more outrageous than Robert De Niro’s live action one suggests Morgenthaler has been rather canny in employing his chosen medium to tell this ugly tale.
GFT, Glasgow, Mon 12-Wed 14 Nov.