I’ve attempted to become a vegan on numerous occasions. However, at some point the addictions would reveal their ugly heads, and I would find myself salivating in front of the cheese counter, at a local organic shop nonetheless, eventually giving in and piling the various fermented milk-blocks, into my shopping basket.
We no can longer ignore the perversion of our western meat industry. The havoc it has on our environment, and to our bodies. So if there should be a film out there, that sheds light on the industrialisation of meat in a rather unusually fantastical, maybe even child friendly way, then Okja is that film.
The story begins in our era. Where food seems to be scarce. And the Mirando corporation optimises the meat industry to be the solution to the hunger plague. Mirando puts the world to the test, giving one farmer in each country, ten years to grow a super pig. The reward for the winner? A pure gold piggy-shaped prize. Ten years on, we enter a forest somewhere in Korea, where young Mija and her best friend Okja the now super-sized pig, are foraging for food and sweetly goofing about in their daily routine. We instantly fall in love with both creature and child, especially when we experience Okja, who also has humanised empathy to add to her largeness, saves Mija from a rather sticky situation.
All seems swell in this seemingly sheltered environment, but it doesn’t take long until the story grows dark, and the reality of Okja’s safety and happiness is duly challenged. Mija quickly learns the ugly underbelly of what the world is made up of, and with some new found friends, Mija takes on the mission to rescue Okja and return her back to the forest.
Okja’s is a commentary on our worlds greed and the lies told in order to feed that greed metaphorically and literally.
I found the style of Okja was like a live action Manga film, with highly animated performances, in particular from Tilda Swinton and Jake Gyllenhaal. The film has it’s ‘Bambi’ moments, where some scenes were so cutting, I’d find myself either balling my eyes out, or calling out to the characters to run for their lives.
Post seeing Okja? I return to my attempt to veganism. After all, why do I think I have the right to take something from someone, without asking them? 8/10
Nina C. Wagner
Available on Netflix now.