So we’ve all probably heard about Netflix, but did you know that next month, an upcoming Korean-American film production will be released by the company? Recently, Netflix has began to invest in the production of various Korean drama series, however ‘Okja‘ will be their first Korean film production.
The film is directed by the renowned Korean director, Bong Joon-Ho, best known for his productions: ‘Memories of a Murder’, ‘The Host’ and ‘Snowpiercer’. It presents a girl named Mija, who is on a journey to prevent her best friend, a massive animal named Okja, from being captured by a powerful multi-national corporation.
With Okja I want to show the beauty that can exist between man and animal, and also the horror between them – Bong Joon-Ho
Our female protagonist, Mija is played by the child actress, Ahn Seohyun (from ‘Single-Minded Dandelion’), but will also be accompanied with many other Korean actors such as Byun Hee-Bong (From ‘The Host’ and ‘Memories of a Murder’), Steven Yeun (From ‘The Walking Dead’ – best known for his role as Glenn Rhee) as well as Choi Woo-Shik (from ‘Set Me Free’, ‘Train to Busan’ etc.)! Interesting fact: Choi Woo-Shik has also participated as an actor in two DAY6 music videos – ‘Congratulations’ and ‘You’re Beautiful’!
I was fortunate to attend an exclusive screening of Okja at the Soho Hotel in London. The film provided an insight of the powerful relationship between Okja and Mija. It causes you to consider the influence of businesses regarding the manufacturing of animal products and the effects on the environment as well as how it can effect those involved in the matter personally. It was an overall enjoyable film, ranging from a few light-hearted, admirable scenes to some heart-breaking matters. I would describe it as a bitter-sweet ending. The production features both Korean and English dialogue throughout the film. For the Korean dialogue, English subtitles would be accompanied with the dialogue on screen. At times this could cause the audience to be lost in translation as not every piece was translated clearly – I was at an advantage for understanding some of the Korean without the need to look at the subtitles.
One of the most memorable moments for me actually goes to Choi Woo-shik’s role in the film. He plays ‘Kim’ one of the workers of Mirano, the company aiming to kidnap Okja. Although he had a small role in the film, his few scenes helped lighten the atmosphere although it was conveyed in a rather crude manner – which couldn’t help but make me laugh. On the other hand, the scene drawing to the end created a big impact on me as issues revolving around food production in society were highlighted and allowed me to appreciate the environment and what we eat more.
Ahn Seohyun plays a powerful, persevering character, conveying determination throughout her journey to save her best friend. Okja is an animal you learn to love, a companion that you may be quite surprised to have, but throughout the film can’t help but adore and feel for. The relationship combining the two is an unstoppable relationship which many will envy as they go beyond borders to reunite with one another. Along the journey, Mija faces obstacles which lead her to being part of a bigger plan to exploit the wrong-doings of the Mirano corporation. Will it all be worth it in the end?
Don’t miss the opportunity to watch this new Korean-American Netflix production, coming out on the 28th of June!