After watching the new trailer for Bong Joon-ho’s latest film, Okja, your days of eating BLT’s might officially be over. In the clip’s opening seconds, we’re introduced to the titular creature, a kind of super-pig—genetically engineered by a sinister corporation led by Tilda Swinton’s oddball CEO. Through voiceover, she explains that Okja was created to leave no environmental footprint, while keeping that one characteristic required from all of our swine: Okja “tastes fucking good.”
The thing is, while being raised in the South Korean countryside, Okja befriends Mija, the farmer’s daughter who’s powerless to the charms of her new BFF. We would be too if our best friend looked like the result of a hippo and a bunny rabbit getting trapped in a gamma radiation blast.
So when Okja is taken away to fulfill her destiny by becoming a pork belly banh mi, little Mija teams up with a Paul Dano-led animal rights group to get rescue her. From there, what originally looked like a cloying kids movie, transforms into a dizzying multicultural action epic with sci-fi elements mixed in for good measure.
That Okja looks like it transcends your generic monster movie should come as no surprise, considering who made it. Joon-ho was the visionary behind 2013’s beloved cult classic Snowpiercer. Once again, the South Korean auteur assembled actors from his native country with more familiar faces like Swinton, Dano, Jake Gyllenhaal and Lilly Collins to craft a piece of pop art that looks wholly unique.
Apart from the merits of the actual film—which still remain to be seen, though we have high hopes—Okja is already one of the most talked about films of the year. After locking horns with Harvey Weinstein over the making and release of Snowpiercer, Joon-ho was approached by Netflix, who offered him $50 million and full creative control to make his follow-up. Okja will make its Netflix debut on June 28th, with a limited theatrical release to follow soon after.
That untraditional release model has ruffled the feathers of the Cannes establishment ahead of its premiere at the prestigious festival. This marks the first—and possibly the last time a film that will be available for streaming before it hits theaters will be eligible for the Palme d’Or, Cannes’ highest prize. But the ripples made by Okja’s release model will be felt long after the curtains close on Cannes.
Netflix doesn’t just want to steal audiences away from traditional studios. It wants to steal their filmmakers too. It already convinced Martin Scorsese to come on board, and if Okja is received by critics and audiences the same way a theatrically released film is received, we could be witnessing the birth of a real revolution.