Cannes: Netflix's 'Okja' Premiere Gets Four-Minute Standing Ovation After Press Screening Snafu
Bong Joon-ho's Okja, Netflix's first film to screen in the Cannes film festival competition, drew a warm and enthusiastic reception after its world premiere on Friday evening
Netflix's animal rights drama, starring Tilda Swinton, Jake Gyllenhaal and others, got four minutes of standing ovation at its premiere at the fest. When the young star, South Korean actress Ahn Seo-hyun, appeared on the big screen during the reception, the audience cheered even more.
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And before the first frame of the film, when the Netflix logo appeared onscreen, the audience cheered and clapped, erasing any questions of how the discerning Palais audience would respond to the streaming giant's first official Cannes selection.
The world premiere went off without any technical glitches, unlike the Friday morning press screening. During that screening, Okja was halted for 15 minutes due to technical problems, and the festival later issued an apology. The crowd both cheered and booed when Netflix's logo re-appeared on the screen.
The film has become a symbol of the streaming giant's disruption of the traditional film business and caused much debate. Netflix plans to release Okja online-only in most markets, leading to criticism from this year's Cannes jury president Pedro Almodovar.
The Spanish director in the jury press conference earlier this week had said that he didn't think the Palme d'Or should be given “to a film that is then not seen on the big screen.”
Last week, the Cannes festival introduced a new rule, taking effect next year, that only films with theatrical distribution in France can be accepted in competition.
Netflix's other competition title is Noah Baumbach's The Meyerowitz Stories.
by Sheraz Farooqi
by Graeme McMillan