Director Bong says ‘Okja’ is about humanity, life and capitalism

CANNES, France, May 19 (Yonhap) — South Korean director Bong Joon-ho said his new international film “Okja” explores humanity, life and capitalism, after the film had a debut screening at the Cannes Film Festival on Friday.

“We feel pleasure as well as pain from living in a capitalist world. We sometimes feel stressed and tired. I made this film out of the idea that animals would feel the same way,” the helmer said during a news conference for the film.

“Okja” has raised a lot of attention from news media and movie fans for being the follow-up to Bong’s acclaimed sci-fi thriller “Snowpiercer” and the first Netflix movie chosen to premiere in the Cannes’ official competition section.

Director Bong Joon-ho and the main cast of the Netflix movie “Okja” pose for the camera during the 70th Cannes Film Festival on May 19, 2017. (Yonhap)

The film made a screen debut during its official press screening that preceded the news conference at the 70th edition of the festival. Many reporters from around the world attended the press event to press various questions to the director and the cast for about an hour.

Co-written by Bong and Jon Ronson of “Frank,” Okja follows a girl from a rural town who risks everything to prevent a multinational company from kidnapping her close friend and super-pig named Okja. The sci-fi film was co-produced by three Hollywood studios — Plan B, Lewis Pictures and Kate Street Picture Company — while Netflix covered the film’s entire budget of US$50 million. It stars Tilda Swinton, Jake Gyllenhaal of “Nightcrawler” and “Everest,” and Paul Dano of “Love & Mercy” and “12 Years a Slave,” and has Korean actors such as An Seo-hyun, Byun Hee-bong, Choi Woo-shik and Yoon Je-moon among its cast.

After the screening, “Okja” drew mixed reviews from reporters with some saying it depicted the friendship and adventure of the animal and the girl as well as containing socially conscious satire with original visuals. Some others said it…

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