Peter Chung

Korean-American animator

Peter Chung (born 19 April 1961 in Seoul, South Korea) is a Korean American animator. He is best known as the creator and director of Æon Flux, which ran as shorts on MTV's Liquid Television before launching as its own half-hour television series.


  • People often repeat the fallacy that "film is a passive medium". The statement is usually elaborated like this: "When I read a story in a book, I have to use my imagination to conjure up what the characters look like, the sound of their voices, the appearance of their surroundings, the house, the landscape. When I see a movie, those things are all nailed down for me, so I don't feel as involved." What the person is describing are the most obvious aspects of a given story, that is, its physical properties. They are, in fact, the least interesting and least important components of a story. I do not read books in order to imagine the physical appearance of things.
  • A good film is one that requires the viewer to create, through an orchestration of impressions, the meaning of its events. It is, in the end, our ability to create meaning out of the raw experience of life that makes us human. It is the exercise of our faculty to discover meaning which is the purpose of art. The didactic imparting of moral or political messages is emphatically not the purpose of art -- that is what we call propaganda.
  • Regarding the doll in the Purge, since it's one of my favorite moments in the series: The Custodians are the physical embodiment of a very vaporous notion -- human conscience. Does conscience really exist, or is it just a way of convincing ourselves that a center for moral judgment resides within us, thus lending our judgments a natural authority? As always, Trevor prefers to provide a tangible solution. He can't tolerate uncertainty. Whether it is real or not, Trevor understands the usefulness of the belief in conscience as a tool for practical ends, the improvement of society. In the end, the doll which emerges from the Custodian reveals to us that Trevor's artificial conscience, like the classical notion, is no more than a flimsy gimmick, a parlor trick, a plaything of the mind powered by a circular process. (Advocating the existence of conscience usually involves an appeal to our conscience). Notice that Trevor himself winds up the toy while in the train earlier in the episode.
  • For a viewer to think the custodian was trying to break free is the exact opposite of what the scene was supposed to convey. There is nothing gained from that kind of ambiguity. Ambiguity is not desirable or meaningful if it confuses an issue that is meant to be clear. This is the challenge of making a film that communicates but doesn't talk down: a lot of viewers and studio execs (and directors) hold that ANY ambiguity is the result of the filmmaker's failure. I disagree, but I also hold that, in order for ambiguity to be effective, certain things NEED to be unambiguous. For example, if it wasn't clear that Judy on the stage is the same character as Judy who'd invited Aeon to the Hostess' lair, then that's just bad execution. If the episode had been finished and seen in a version say, where we don't see her face drawn correctly, and viewers weren't sure it was the same character, they may wonder about things irrelevant to the story's themes, such as "do the custodians alter the appearance of their hosts", or "Trevor is masquerading a different person who is playing the role of Judy on the stage", etc, all of which does not help the story. Thinking that the custodian had a will of its own and wanted to break free is the same type of undesired speculation.
  • It's a universal tendency in films to be more about sex and violence than the real world is, but I would pose the opposite question: Why are so many characters that you see on TV so desexualized? A lot of them seem to be completely asexual — especially animated characters — and it implies that those characters are normal. The characters in Aeon Flux are normal people who have normal sex lives and appetites.
Wikipedia has an article about: