On the eve of its world premiere at the ongoing Cannes Film Festival, Netflix has summoned the delicate, wonderfully peculiar first trailer for Okja, Bong Joon-ho’s genre oddity in which a young girl named Mija (newcomer Ahn Seo-hyun) befriends the titular gentle giant.
Free to roam in the lush forest without a care in the world, Mija forges a deep, unbreakable bond with Okja, which is essentially a friendly pig (hippo?) with a bad case of gigantism. In the eyes of Mirando Corporation – a powerful, multi-national company out to revolutionize the food industry – Okja is a revelation, a creature that will single-handedly upend Earth’s ecological system as we know it. But the company’s CEO, Lucy Mirando (Tilda Swinton), is fuelled by greed more than anything else, and up above you’ll get a sense of the power struggle between Mirando Corporation and Mija – not to mention her staunch allies and other animal rights activists – and it’s one that looks set to underpin a beautifully shot parable on animal abuse.
Rounding out the cast list for this one are Jake Gyllenhaal, The Walking Dead‘s Steven Yeun, Lily Collins, Choi Woo-shik, Shirley Henderson, Daniel Henshall, Paul Dano and Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad/Better Call Saul). Bong Joon-ho is the brains behind the story, and co-wrote the screenplay for Okja with writing partner Jon Ronson.
Okja is set to stage its world premiere at Cannes tomorrow, May 19th. We’ll be keeping track of Bong Joon-ho’s latest creative venture all the way up until its Netflix debut on June 28th, but can it stand alongside the director’s previous efforts (read: Snowpiercer?) critically, if not financially? Time will tell.