If you had any doubt the ideological gap between farm folk and urbanites is big enough slide an asteroid through, Okja will convince you.
Okja is the new film from edgy Korean director Bong Joon Ho. His latest project got rave reviews at the Cannes Film Festival, but it’s more likely you will consider his work pure rubbish, the kind that misrepresents you, your livelihood and your heritage.
Okja is a six-ton genetically engineered pig, the pet of a Korean orphan tweenager named Mija who lives with her grandfather on a Korean mountain. Their idyllic life is disrupted when the corporation that created Okja, and hundreds of her kind, wants the creature back. Their plan is to use her as a green-washed publicity stunt to sell industrially produced meat.
The New York Times wrote, “Plot points include a pignapping, Mija’s desperate pursuit, a bumbling Animal Liberation Front troop, an insecure corporate villainess and a foray into the grisly mechanics of factory farming.”
Bong told The Times that he had visited a Colorado slaughterhouse to prepare for the film’s graphic scenes. He said the experience made him go temporarily vegan — and he wants to convey those horrors to the audience. “I wanted to inflict certain psychological pain [on the audience] because in reality, that’s what the animals go through,” he said.
While Bong says his motive for the film was not to disparage the meat industry – he says “South Korea is barbeque paradise” – the film paints as villains those who raise and harvest animals for food.
Jon Ronson, who co-wrote the film’s script with Bong, told The Times “Okja” was about cognitive dissonance. “To eat the meat,” he said, “you have to ignore the slaughterhouse.”
Netflix will be streaming the film starting on June 28.