Screening at Cannes of Netflix's "Okja" stopped due to heckling

Carla Harmon
May 23, 2017

At the end of all the commotion, largely glowing reviews surfaced for director Boon Joon-ho's political fantasy about a girl and her genetically modified giant pig.

The South Korean´s first Hollywood film, "Snowpiercer", starring Tilda Swinton - who also appears in "Okja" - won him further kudos in 2012. It's the first of two Netflix films in Cannes' Palme d'Or competition to premiere. Then film plays in wrong aspect ratio and Grand Lumiere nearly rioted.

The projection was stopped, the screen adjusted and the movie then restarted, with the Netflix logo again being booed, but the rest of the film played to respectful silence.

'Okja starts, huge boos at Netflix logo.

With the atmosphere of the room being likened by attendees to "an unfolding prison riot environment", the screening was halted so that the issue could be fixed.

Cannes Festival bosses took responsibility for the error and made a statement of apology to 'the director, his teams, the producers and the audience at the showing'.

The film's director Bong Joon-ho, meanwhile, offered a lighthearted response to the technical problems that marred the press screening. "Our superpigs will not only be big and handsome, they will also leave a minimal footprint on the environment, consume less feed, and produce less excretions", says the conglomerate's flamboyant CEO, Lucy Mirando (Tilda Swinton).

'There is so (much) information and story elements there. "I'm very excited about the appointment of Robert Mueller", he said about the special prosecutor who will investigate Donald Trump's possible ties to Russian Federation.

"Okja" is scheduled to make its debut on Netflix on June 28, but will also subsequently get a limited theatrical release in the United States.

Featuring a diverse cast of global stars, Okja follows a young woman named Mija who risks everything to save her beloved companion from the hands of an egomaniacal corporate CEO.

Actress Tilda Swinton said: "It's an enormous and really interesting conversation that's beginning".

The Cannes film festival is, in many ways, created to be the pinnacle of movie respectability, providing screenings of high-concept, classy art pictures that give creators a chance to show off their genius.

Netflix sparked uproar in France by refusing to put the movies on general release there, where subscription services must wait three years to stream films after they show in cinemas. The president of the Festival Jury Pedro Almodóvar, thinks that there is a great contradiction if a film wins a prize for it not to be shown in the local cinemas. I'm not sure people will watch those movies together. "He can say anything".

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