Cannes screening of Netflix movie halted after non-stop booing

Streaming behemoth launches bid for cinematic legitimacy and prestige, thanks to Bong Joon Ho's highly-anticipated Okja 

Clarisse Loughrey
Friday 19 May 2017 08:22 BST
Okja - trailer

Netflix has landed at Cannes surrounded in a haze of controversy.

The streaming giant is launching its biggest bid yet for legitimacy and prestige in the field of film distribution, by premiering its latest acquisition - Bong Joon Ho's Okja - at the world-famous film festival.

However, Netflix's dreams have swiftly turned into something of a nightmare, with director and head judge Pedro Almodóvar opening the festival by stating he didn't think films without cinematic distribution should even be considered for the festival's Palme d'Or prize.

This was compounded by the disaster that unfolded during the very first screening of Okja, which saw the typically vocal Cannes audience break into a chorus of boos and heckling the second the Netflix logo popped up on screen.

The noise did not relent for the next five minutes, as it soon became abundantly clear that the film was actually being screened in entirely the wrong aspect ratio, essentially cropping a portion of the top of the screen - and a chunk of star Tilda Swinton's face.

With the atmosphere of the room likened by attendees to "an unfolding prison riot environment", the screening was halted so the issue could be fixed.

For all the internal Cannes drama, it is unlikely the controversy will actually have much effect on Netflix's release of the highly-anticipated film. Co-written by Joon Ho and Jon Ronson, Okja tells the story of a young girl, Mija (Ahn Seo-hyun), who lives deep in the forests of Gangwon Province, South Korea.

However, Mija must face up to the mighty beast of corporate capitalism, as she tries to prevent Lucy Mirando (Swinton) and her company from kidnapping her best friend, Okja.

Okja launches globally on Netflix on 28 June.

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