Simply put, writer-director Bong Joon-ho is one of the most exciting filmmakers working today. Having made his mark in the South Korean film industry, with movies such as Barking Dogs Never Bite and Memories Of Murder, he received richly deserved international acclaim for 2006’s The Host. Two more movies followed in quick succession, but it was 2013’s Snowpiercer that truly cemented the name of Bong Joon-ho in the firmament of global cinema. Now, the director is turning his subversive eye to a coming-of-age tale, with Okja.
The action-adventure film is set to stream on Netflix later this year, and we now have a teaser trailer that offers a tantalizing glimpse of the titular character. Okja is a giant creature that also happens to be the best friend of a young girl named Mija (Seohyun An). When a powerful and influential corporation plans to capture Okja, Mija embarks on a globe-trotting journey to save her friend – an endeavour that involves dealing with the evils of commercialization, globalization, genetic engineering, and eco-terrorism.
With Bong Joon-ho in the director’s chair, the screenplay is co-written by the filmmaker and Jon Ronson (Frank), with a cast that’s led by Tilda Swinton, and includes Jake Gyllenhaal, Paul Dano, Lily Collins, Byun Heebong, Yoon Je Moon, Choi Wooshik, Giancarlo Esposito, and Steven Yeun.
The trailer betrays very little of the plot, showing us only Tilda Swinton’s character, Seohyun An’s Mija, and the briefest of glimpses of Okja. What it does confirm, however, is that the film will feature Bong Joon-ho’s excellent use of framing, landscape, and pacing, which worked so well in his previous feature length projects. The fact that Jon Ronson has co-written the script is also reason to be excited, since his previous work for the big screen has demonstrated that the razor-sharp wit and keen observations of his journalistic work are just as present in his contributions to narrative cinema.
Okja will arrive on Netflix on June 28th, 2017.