Net­flix weath­ers Cannes glitch

Di­rec­tor laughs off snafu: ‘You peo­ple can watch the open­ing se­quence twice’

Windsor Star - - YOU - CHRIS KNIGHT ck­night@post­

CANNES A tech­ni­cal mishap briefly halted the first Net­flix film (and po­ten­tially one of the last) to pre­mière in com­pe­ti­tion at the Cannes Film Fes­ti­val.

When the stu­dio logo ap­peared on the screen of the mas­sive Lu­mière the­atre Fri­day, it drew wide­spread boos from the crowd. But as the open­ing scene of Okja, from South Korean di­rec­tor Bong Joon Ho, be­gan to play, au­di­ence mem­bers no­ticed the as­pect ra­tio was wrong, cut­ting off parts of the im­ages.

In fact, it was as if the gods of French cin­ema had risen up to smite the stream­ing ser­vice up­start. But af­ter a de­lay of about 10 min­utes, the movie started again. The fes­ti­val is­sued a state­ment tak­ing blame and apol­o­giz­ing.

At the news con­fer­ence for the film, the di­rec­tor laughed off the snafu. “You peo­ple can watch the open­ing se­quence twice,” he said, not­ing there’s a lot of in­for­ma­tion and story in those few min­utes.

Net­flix caused a furor for re­fus­ing to re­lease Okja or its other com­ple­tion ti­tle, Noah Baum­bach’s The Meyerowitz Sto­ries, in cin­e­mas.

Jury pres­i­dent Pe­dro Almod­ó­var went so far as to say he doesn’t see ei­ther film win­ning a prize this year, and Cannes has a new rule for 2018 that all com­pe­ti­tion ti­tles must screen in French cin­e­mas.

“I’m just re­ally happy he’ll see it tonight,” Bong said of Almod­ó­var’s com­ments. “The mere fact that he talks about this film, in glow­ing or neg­a­tive terms, is fine with me.”

Tilda Swin­ton, who stars in Okja and has twice sat on ju­ries at Cannes, was a model of diplo­macy on the sub­ject. “It’s re­ally im­por­tant that the pres­i­dent feels free to make what­ever state­ments he or she makes,” she said. “That’s part of the deal. But the truth is we didn’t ac­tu­ally come here for prizes.

“We came here to show this film to the Cannes Film Fes­ti­val and to peo­ple who have gath­ered here from all over the world.”

Okja, from the di­rec­tor of Snow­piercer and The Host, tells the story of a 14-year-old girl named Mija (An Seo Hyun) whose best friend, a giant mu­tant pig, is cap­tured by a U.S. con­glom­er­ate, lead­ing her on a chase through Seoul and even­tu­ally to New York. The film also stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Paul Dano.

Its eco­log­i­cal mes­sage and child/ crea­ture friend­ship has drawn com­par­isons to the works of Ja­panese film­maker Hayao Miyazaki and Stu­dio Ghi­bli — with, it must be said, rather more vi­o­lence and adult lan­guage.

“I’ve loved (Miyazaki) ever since I was small,” Bong said. “If you want to talk about na­ture and life, you can­not be but in the shadow of this great mas­ter.”

Swin­ton added: “There’s some­thing about the en­vi­ron­ment of a Miyazaki film that is be­yond emo­tion, and it’s be­yond cin­ema. It’s a place you can go to.

“The na­ture that we’re wor­ship­ping is ac­tu­ally the best of hu­man na­ture also.”

As an an­i­mal lover known for her many dogs, Swin­ton noted our an­i­mal com­pan­ions are of­ten mod­els of good be­hav­iour.

“How to live, loy­alty, pa­tience, pres­ence, the love of a good walk, catch­ing a ball,” she said. “That feel­ing of ded­i­ca­tion and sim­plic­ity in liv­ing life that animals can teach us as hu­mans.”

Okja will be re­leased on Net­flix in Canada on June 28.


Jake Gyllenhaal, left, Bong Joon Ho and Tilda Swin­ton are pro­mot­ing their movie, Okja, at the Cannes FIlm Fes­ti­val.

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