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Thursday, July 6, 2017

HAVE YOU SEEN OKJA?


Okja is a film by South Korean director Bong Joon Ho (rightmost), who also made Snowpiercer and The Host, two intense thrillers of some note.  Okja is Netflix's first great movie.  To be more specific, Okja is a genetically modified super pig with a soul, here with actress, Seo-hyeon Ahn:


Okja is almost as large as an elephant.  Tilda Swinton plays feuding twins running a food conglomerate, and the biggest surprise of all is Jake Gyllenhaal, who is unrecognizable from his usual intense roles:


Paul Dano does well as the leader of an animal-rights activist group called ALF.  I might add that Brad Pitt served as one of the producers.

Rotten Tomatoes reviewers bestowed an excellent 84 rating, with audiences at an even better 89.  Okja, the film, is eclectic, with twists and a happy ending, but missing an opportunity by not having Okja, the superpig, give birth to her own super piglet.  Or maybe that will be the sequel.

Okja is the coming of age for South Korean films.  Netflix picked a winner in director Bong, an environmentalist who weaves messages into his action horror efforts.  The agriculture and food industry has become villainous to the public with genetically modified products, and the bothersome question of what are you really eating comes through in the film.

However, another kind of controversy is brewing, as most Korean cinemas have refused to show Okja because the movie is simultaneously being made available to Netflix viewers.  I just saw Okja for free on TV because I'm a subscriber.  That paid for my monthly cost.  But this precedent has discombobulated the business model of traditional distributors and theater owners.  At the Cannes Film Festival in May, there were a lot of boos when Netflix was announced-- guess from which group--but the movie itself got a 4-minute standing ovation at the end. Who knows, you might not get a chance to see it in your city, too, so you might be compelled to try Netflix.

Another issue is the matter of what happened to Japan.  While flying around the world I bypass watching their films, and instead watch Korean productions, primarily because something awful has happened to Japanese films.  They are boring, without meaning and fluffy.   Japanese producers don't take risks, everything is low budget and their critics don't criticize.

Here is a list of the 100 most popular Japanese actors/actresses. How many do you recognize who are alive?

Korean films are so much more meaningful.  You will love Okja and Okja.

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