There was an uncalled-for incident at Festival De Cannes 2017. Netflix Movie Okja was stopped only a few minutes after it started, as the audience started booing. The controversy associated with the film is due to Netflix’s decision of not screening it in French theaters.
The South Korean-American movie is about super-pig named Okja. A young girl named Mija tries to stop a multi-national company from kidnapping Okja, who happens to be her best friend. The movie stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Tilda Swinton. The movie is directed by Bong Joon-ho, the visionary behind “The Host” and “Memories of a Murder.”
The booing started when Netflix’s logo appeared on screen before the movie actually started. Things became more complicated when the audience realized that the movie was screening in a wrong aspect ratio. As the people present in the theater continued booing, the movie was stopped, only to be restarted after 10 minutes.
According to blogger Elena Lazic, the festival authorities did not start the movie well. The screen did not open properly, while it was significantly cropped” at the top. While the audience booed at the Netflix logo, it continued because of the “terrible projection” standards, Lazic said.
However, there was no initial explanation given about the technical glitch. When the movie started for the second time, there was booing again at the Netflix logo. However, the booing was also accompanied with some cheering. As the movie ended, there was a generous round of applause for the movie, the BBC reported.
Later on, the Festival De Cannes 2017 authorities released an official statement to explain the situation.
“This incident was entirely the responsibility of the Festival’s technical service, which offers its apologies to the director and his team, to the producers and the audience.”
Nevertheless, Netflix movie Okja was not the only film that met with jeer at the festival. Earlier, there was booing for Wonderstruck, starring Michelle Williams and Julianne Moore. The audience booed when the Amazon logo appeared in the beginning of the screening.
— Beatrice Behn (@DansLeCinema) May 19, 2017
Okja vintage Bong Joon-ho on (GMO) steroids–genre screwball comedy & political thinkpiece, hybrid offspring of Babe/1984/Fast Food Nation
— Steven Zeitchik (@ZeitchikLAT) May 19, 2017
No matter what happened during the screening of the film, Okja got mostly positive reviews from most of the critics and members of the audience. Alex Billington called the movie an “anti-capitalist, anti-meat love letter to animals.” He appreciated the “goofy characters” who capture people’s heart. Beatrice Behn says her “heart bleeds” for the Netflix movie. She calls it the “perfect creature feature.” According to Nadia Neophytou, Okja deserves to be seen on a big screen. Total Film calls the movie “a cut above,” with oodles of heart and a howling message.
OKJA: like ET on crack. wild & wildly uneven, but always soulful. A+ cast, 1 legendary chase, everything you want AT the movies #Cannes2017
— david ehrlich (@davidehrlich) May 19, 2017
OKJA is the girl-and-her-super-pig movie I always wanted. Ahn Seo-hyun a compelling action heroine, creature FX exquisite. #Cannes2017
— Rebecca Keegan (@ThatRebecca) May 19, 2017
So #OKJA is a fantastic mainstream movie. Smart, funny, wild, highly lovable, about a real issue, fantastic camera work, great cast.
— Julia Pühringer (@JuliaPuehringer) May 19, 2017
According to Variety, the initial feedback about the Netflix movie is so great that people have started comparing it to Steven Spielberg’s cult film, E.T. Critics are using adjectives like “endearing” and “visionary” to describe the film.
According to David Ehrlich, Okja is like E.T. “on crack.” It is wild and wildly uneven, but always soulful. It apparently has everything people want at the movies. Kyle Buchanan hails the performances in the movie. According to Buchanan, the performances are even bigger than the big pig and the big ideas of the movie. He hails Gyllenhaal’s performance in particular, for being “so flamboyant it can be seen from space.”
At this moment, Netflix movie Okja seems to have moved on from the initial negative reaction from the audience. Most critics love it and appreciate it for reasons more than one. Now the question is if Netflix will allow more people to watch it by releasing it in theaters in France.
[Featured Image by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images]