The new Netflix original film in a nutshell is a tale about a 13-yr-old girl named Mija played by Seo-Hyun Ahn and her warm love to her pet pig Okja, which will soon be repackaged by a mega corporation as a tasty treat.
Sounds like a generic plot, right? But man, I was wrong. After seeing the new Netflix original film directed by Bong Joon-Ho, it turns out to be a huge metaphor of business, relationships, and beliefs that could cut you deep.
Thus, Okja is not just here to give us entertainment, but also to send us a message. Here are some significant lessons woven into this touching movie:
1. It brings attention to genetically modified animals
Experiments like such is not new to our ears. Scientists have been doing this for years, trying to create animals that have more desirable characteristics by tweaking their genes. It’s safe to say that this kind of study is still in its trial and error stage, which has the primary goal to simply learn and discover things.
In this film, Okja is a genetically modified animal, designed solely as a product that is expected to “consume less feed, produce less excretions and taste fucking good.” No mention on the super pigs being a GMO because it’s the kind of subject people frown upon, right? The market only needs to hear the catch-phrase “fucking good” and they’d forget to check about the limitation and health benefits of it.
2. Your beliefs can either make or break you
A group introduced themselves as animal lovers who “tear down cages” of slaughterhouses and set animals free. Very committed to their advocacy, one of their crew took Okja’s faith into his hands, and lied to Mija. This resulted to multiple sufferings of the super pig because of various tests that she had to go through. Tell me, does that sound like love to you?
Few minutes in, Lucy Mirando (Tilda Swinton), the owner of Mirando Corporation, already laid an issue suggesting that the world is “running out of food and we’re not talking about it.” She created the intensity of the “need” in order to create a “demand,” then, lowkey labeled herself as the only hope of this generation while sidetracking her grandfather and sister who she emphasized as “the enemy of the people.” Her hunger for validation resulted into obsession, which later caused her to embrace exactly what she is trying to escape from.
3. The value of farmers
Mirando surely has all sorts of technology to reproduce the best of the best animals that she needs, but no amount of formula can ever equal to the devotion and dedication of farmers for their livestock. While science can recreate a new form of species, farmers proved that they can furnish a sustainable growth and life for the animals by simply taking care of them firsthand – no cruelty required.
It’s about time to give them back the glory and recognition that they deserve.
4. Okja is a subtle reminder of how big companies continue to feed us bullshit
Million-dollar worth of flashy promotional videos, loud buzz on social media, highly classified ambassadors all paid to mask a profit-only driven campaign that benefits the brand more than these people who think that they are being rescued.
Okja became an “insult” to traditionalist filmmakers when it premiered in Lumière Theater and cinephile holy ground, for the big prize, the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in May. In short, a film created by an independent streaming company is annoying because it proved to be worthy of cinema sales.
You see, they came out with a quality film that aspires to qualify as a trendsetter where filmmakers can have complete freedom to craft their next masterpiece if they choose Netflix as their main platform. They only require serious skills and a story that electrifies.
Of course, business is business. No doubt, it applies to both. But why can’t traditional and digital just co-exist?
Okja is a well-molded statement film that Netflix needed to stress a point. For streamers, it’s a dark fairytale but still family-friendly. For the movie industry, it’s a film that you will have a hard time ignoring.
Photo from IMDb