Cannes Film Fest 2017: Okja–Stars Gyllenhaal and Tilda Swinton, Director Bong Joon-ho Defend Netflix

Netflix’s first feature playing in the prestigious competition at the 2017 Cannes Film Fest is Okja, a special effects epic directed by Bong Joon-ho about a girl who tries to save her giant pet pig from an enigmatic corporation.

The acclaimed Korean filmmaker responded with humor to a technical glitch, which forced the festival to restart “Okja” at a press screening. “What happened this morning, I’m happy about it,” Bong said at a press conference with his cast. “You guys can watch the opening sequence twice.”

Tilda Swinton (who plays a evil CEO in the story) defended Netflix’s presence in the Cannes, after distributors have protested showing movies that will debut on the streaming service instead of theaters.

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“We didn’t actually come here for prizes,” Swinton said. “We came here to show the film to the Cannes Film Festival. We get the wonderful opportunity and privilege to screen our film on that screen.”

Co-star Jake Gyllenhaal noted: “It’s truly a blessing when art can reach one person, particularly in today’s age, when we are inundated with information, sometimes true, sometimes not, that we can get the artistic expression in whatever form we can.”

Gyllenhaal then got political: I’m very excited about the appointment of Robert Mueller,” he said about the special prosecutor who will investigate Donald Trump’s possible ties to Russia.

On Wednesday, Cannes jury president Pedro Almodovar said he couldn’t imagine giving the Palme d’Or to a movie that would not eventually premiere on the big screen.

But that declaration didn’t seem to bother Bong, who recently made the highly acclaimed Snowpiercer. also starring Tilda Swinton.

“I’m just happy he will watch this movie tonight,” Bong said. “He (Pedro) can say anything—I’m fine.”

Bong spoke highly of collaborating with the streaming service. “I loved working with Netflix,” he said. “They gave me great support — the budget for this film is considerable. Giving such a budget to a director is not very common.”

Gyllenhaal, a fan of Bong, expressed interest in the role before even reading the script, based on the description of the pig.  His character, a TV host, projects a high-pitched voice. “You should hear me in the morning,” Gyllenhaal said.

The tone was inspired by instructions from the director: “Bong drew me a picture of the top end of the guitar, then said, ‘that’s where his voice is.’ It was left up to my interpretation.”

“Okja” is drawing parallels to “E.T.,” “Babe” and other adventures about animals.

Swinton quirked: “I still live outnumbered by animals.  Some of them are human.”