A few months ago, BBC iPlayer released Carnage , a sci-fi inflected satire written and directed by Simon Amstell, set in a near-future world in which a now-vegan human race struggles to come to terms with its meat-eating past. Now, Korean director Bong Joon Ho’s cautionary tale of genetically modified meat arrives on Netflix , with a limited but welcome UK theatrical release. Like Carnage , Okja uses the trappings of sci-fi fantasy to ask uncomfortably down-to-earth questions about where our food comes from, exposing the savage teeth of consumerism behind the friendly smile of corporate capitalism. In the remote mountains of South Korea, young Mija (An Seo Hyun) has raised and bonded with Okja, one of a batch of “super-piglets” created by the agrichemical corporation Mirando as a potential solution to global hunger. Okja is a gentle giant, bred to tread softly upon the earth – to “consume less feed, produce less excretions”, but (most importantly) to “taste fucking good”. Yet she’s also intelligent and empathetic enough to perform complex self-sacrificing feats when her teenage human companion is in deadly danger. That, of course, means little to Mirando’s wall-toothed CEO Lucy (Tilda Swinton, reuniting with Bong after Snowpiercer […]
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