Thursday, May 18, 2017

Incredible new trailer debuts for Bong Joon Ho's 'Okja'

The Cannes Film Festival kicked off yesterday, and there already has been a good deal of conflict and controversy over the inclusion of Netflix titles in the Competition selection. I plan on writing a whole article on how this battle is a big moment in the future of cinema, but for now, let's give it a quick summary. This year, the Cannes Film Festival and lead programmer Thierry Fremaux made the decision of including two Netflix films in the prestigious Competition lineup. Weeks later, Cannes announced that in the future, films that weren't scheduled for a release in French theaters would no longer be allowed to show In Competition at Cannes, relegating those titles to the Out of Competition and Un Certain Regard sections. This was clearly a rule aimed at Netflix, which put Cannes at odds with festivals like TIFF and Venice.

Yesterday, the Cannes jury was pitted against one another, as Will Smith and jury chief Pedro Almodovar came down on opposite sides of the argument. Smith argued that Netflix was increasing connectivity and bringing cinema to a broad audience (he stars in Bright, on Netflix in December), while Almodovar made the shocking announcement that he wouldn't even consider Netflix films for the Palme D'Or. That means Almodovar won't even look at Noah Baumbach's The Meyerowitz Stories or Bong Joon Ho's Okja, which is set to be one of the biggest original films yet from the streaming giant. With the film's June 28 release and Cannes premiere looming, Netflix has released the first full trailer for the film- check it out below!

"And most importantly.......they need to taste f**king good."

If anyone thought that Bong Joon Ho was losing some of his edge by making a film with a child protagonist, the first few seconds of this trailer immediately do away with those concerns. This looks seriously astonishing, the kind of wildly original concoction that seems to have the makings of an instant classic. On the surface, it sounds like Bong is making his own unique riff on Steven Spielberg's E.T. with this big-budget production, but this trailer makes it clear that this is going to be so much more. Okja is clearly set in a bold and incredible universe that will be populated by wacky characters and a genuine emotional core, mixing sci-fi action with wondrous adventure to great effect. And wow, how amazing is this cast? Tilda Swinton is obviously going to crush it as Lucy Mirando and Jake Gyllenhaal is one of the most consistent actors alive, but the depth of this cast goes beyond that. Paul Dano is probably one of the most undervalued stars on the planet, Lily Collins looks like a perfect fit for the part, and young Seo-Hyun Ahn is set to give a terrific performance as the lead. I simply cannot wait to see more, and I'm extremely excited to see the reactions from Cannes tomorrow morning. It looks like Bong Joon Ho has crafted something singular and incredible here, and after the jaw-dropping Snowpiercer, I'm hoping that the Korean auteur can return with another masterpiece.

Okja debuts on Netflix on June 28. Check out the new poster below and look for more on this film and on the streaming craze in the near future.

Image courtesy of Netflix

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