Okja, a film with a juxtaposition on genres, screens at Grand Théâtre Lumière at Cannes Film Festival. This film’s distribution and financing by Netflix. The film’s director, BONG Joon Ho and cast take on the controversy surrounding the new media at Cannes in stride. The film brings to the forefront the concept of capitalism and conservation of natural resources.
The film synopsis: Mija, a young girl who risks everything to prevent a powerful, multi-national company from kidnapping her best friend, a mystical animal named Okja. The film takes on the concept of environment, consumerism, and childhood imagination.
Tilda Swinton, Oscar award-winning actress, plays Lucy Mirando CEO of the Mirando Corporation in the film. Mirando provides a sterile perfect image to the public, but brings the sense that there is more behind the scenes. The company developed the mystical creature. Swinton says, “The feeling of dedication and simplicity in living life that is what animals can teach us.” This film demonstrates the natural environment and capitalism struggle.
The film’s starting location creates an environment of its own. The serene mountains and childhood imagination brings a strong force of love, contrary to the conflict and suffering throughout the film.
Seo-Hyun Ahn, actress Mija, states, “I love animals too. Before shooting Okja I loved to eat meat, particularly pork. I have been greatly influenced by the character, Mija. I am sure I will not eat as much meat as before.” She is from South Korea and her career includes the film Monster.
Jake Gyllenhaal is excited for this film’s message and ability to reach hundreds of thousands through the limited theatre screenings and streaming. He states, “Sometimes it’s not just an issue of aim, it’s also an issue of when a movie comes out and what it has to say, and I think there’s no better time than now for something like this.” Okja provides a message that can be communicated to audiences world-wide.
Okja brings to Cannes Film Festival the first Netflix film screening. The debate began early in the festival about the online streaming media. Pedro Almodovar, the president of the Palme d’Or jury, states at a press conference “the screen for films should not be smaller than the chair on which you’re sitting.”
Will Smith, Palme d’Or juror, discusses the ability of his young adult children to enjoy a movie in the theatre and on home screens. He brings forward the concept that many films are not viewed in the cinema theatre. These options allow his children to experience cinema films with the escape and grandeur intended, while experiencing films they would otherwise never view.
Bong, at the film’s press conference, says, “loved working with the company, its willingness to authorize a higher budget and it was a wonderful experience.” There was a glitch for the first few minutes of the screening. He also explains that he was, “excited that the press could watch the opening film scene twice.”
Swinton, states. “It’s really important the president feels free to make any statement he or she wants … but if you want to know what I really think — there’s room for everybody,” She further explains that this debate brings forward the way we are entertained and what respect is brought to the art of film. What are your thoughts on this conversation?
See the New York Premiere photos here.
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Cast and Crew:
Tilda SWINTON – Lucy Mirando
Paul DANO – Jay
Seo Hyun AHN – Mija
BONG Joon Ho – Hee Bong
Steven YEUN – K
Lily COLLINS – Red
YOON Je Moon – Mundo Park
Shirley HENDERSON – Jennifer
Daniel HENSHALL – Blond
Devon BOSTICK – Silver
Giancarlo ESPOSITO – Frank Dawson
Jake GYLLENHAAL – Dr Johnny Wilcox
BONG Joon Ho – Director
BONG Joon Ho – Script / Dialogue
Jon RONSON – Script / Dialogue
Darius KHONDJI – Cinematography
Yang JINMO – Film Editor
Cannes Film Festival connections here:
Groupe Renault https://twitter.com/Groupe_Renault
L’ Oréal Paris https://twitter.com/lorealparisfr
Chopard Official https://twitter.com/Chopard