About – Mija (Seo-Hyun Ahn), a young girl risks everything to protect her giant pig, Okja.
Earlier this year, Okja had some media attention at this year’s Cannes film festival. Due to the production studio and streaming service Netflix. Critics and audience members at the screening booed the Netflix logo as it appeared on-screen. However, it was also cheered, but that was towards to film. This controversy went unnoticed to film fans around the world, especially on Twitter.
We’ve all seen anti-meat, anti-slaughter and animal cruelty films before and Okja isn’t an exception. One of the most well-known films within the genre comes from the SeaWorld documentary Blackfish (2013). However, Okja isn’t a documentary and doesn’t deliver the same horrific images and narrative that films alike do. Okja’ narrative tries to be factual and it is. However, it places us in the path of Mija and Okja, which shows that there is a personality and connection between humans and animals. On the downside, it’s the humour that lets this strong meaningful narrative down. The humour is very childlike, it doesn’t fit with the rest of the film and its meanings. Afterwards you can go either way, either loving the film for its humour or hating it because of it.
With this said, it should have taken a different angle. Either, being an edgy film showing the production and horrific ways we treat our animals. Or going into a humoured but touching on the subject so it was subtle.
The score is surprisingly brilliant, to hear a soundtrack that fits perfectly into this powerful film is great. Okja delivers a good mix of pop tracks to soothing melodies that fits in with certain parts of this sensitive film. This type of score is put in perfectly to capture what is happening within the frame but also outside of it. By having a score that has a huge variety of music from pop to melodies it plays of the heart-strings from cheerful to glum within minutes.
As previously mentioned, Okja has torn critics and audiences apart with their production, Netflix. However, looking at it from Okja’ point of view. Netflix have helped them when no other production company would take them on. This also gave Joon-ho Bong (the director) a voice but also a chance for him to get his work out to the west (U.S). So, from Joon-ho’s point of view and his screenplay, if it wasn’t for Netflix to give him a chance we wouldn’t have this fantastic little film on our screens.
Okja is a great little gem of a film, that will play with your feelings but also open your eyes on our western food production. The comedy is very childlike, but looking back can be seen as western humour to eastern countries. Okja is a 2017 watch, especially to see what all the fuss was about in Cannes.