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Bong Joon-ho and Tilda Swinton Defend Netflix Movies at Cannes

Netflix
Netflix

It’s not a Cannes Film Festival without a little bit of cannes-troversy. This year, Netflix has the hot potato, as the festival has practically torn itself in twain on the matter of the online streaming platform — to purists, they’re the barbarians at the multiplex gates, but to those in support, they’re deep-pocketed benefactors for such directors as Korea’s Bong Joon-ho. And after his new film Okja got nearly pulled from competition, allowed back in, unofficially rejected by Jury President Pedro Almodovar, and then booed following technical difficulties at the screening, Bong wanted to clear the air around Netflix.

Each Competition screening is followed by a press conference with the director and stars of the film, and Deadline reports that Bong took his as an opportunity to defend that studio that made his latest vision possible. Along with star Tilda Swinton, Bong emphasized the liberating creative freedom Netflix afforded him, saying, “In fact, I loved working with Netflix, they gave me total freedom, in terms of the casting, shooting, and editing. They put no pressure on me. There were no restrictions on their part. It was a wonderful experience.”

Swinton commented specifically on Almodovar’s dismissal of Okja out of hand, saying, “It’s a statement that the president made, and it’s really important that the president feels free to make whatever statement he or she wants to make. But the truth is we didn’t actually come here for prizes, we came her to show this film. And it is true that we get the wonderful privilege to show this film on this screen. I think it’s an enormous and really interesting conversation that’s just beginning. But what I really think is that there is room for everyone.” Diplomatic words, as could only come from someone with the perspective of immortal extraterrestrial Tilda Swinton.

Whether Bong’s film wins the prestigious Palme d’Or will be resolved when the festival ends next week, but American citizens will have to wait until Okja appears online on June 28 to form an independent opinion. Harbinger of doom for the cinematic experience or entertaining, idiosyncratic sci-fi passion project? You decide!

Watch the Full Trailer for ‘Okja’

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