The Cannes Film Festival stopped the world premiere screening of the Netflix movie Okja after five minutes on Friday after sustained heckling from the audience.
Okja, starring Tilda Swinton and Jake Gyllenhaal, is one of the hottest movies at this year’s festival but controversial because US video-on-demand company Netflix has refused to screen it in French cinemas.
Cannes making an A+ case for the primacy of the cinema experience this AM by projecting the first ten mins of Okja in the wrong aspect ratio— Robbie Collin (@robbiereviews) May 19, 2017
Disaster at OKJA. Movie starts with top of image cut off. Audience who already booed Netflix card clap, yell, scream. (1) #Cannes2017— Gregory Ellwood (@TheGregoryE) May 19, 2017
OKJA starts, huge boos at Netflix logo. Then film plays in wrong aspect ratio and Grand Lumiere almost rioted. movie stopped. #Cannes2017— david ehrlich (@davidehrlich) May 19, 2017
in other news, the first 5 minutes of OKJA are totes incredible, even when seen in an unfolding prison riot environment.— david ehrlich (@davidehrlich) May 19, 2017
The Festival released the following press release
A technical problem occurred during the press screening of OKJA, the film by Bong Joon ho, this morning at the 8.30am screening at the Auditorium Lumiere. After an interruption of several minutes, the screening started again and went normal.
This incident is completely due to the technical staff of the Festival who deeply apologize to the director and his team, to the producers as well as to the audience.
Okja, a $50-million creature feature about a young country girl who tries to save a beast created by an unscrupulous multinational company, had been touted as a possible winner of the festival’s top prize, the Palme d’Or.
But a bitter row between the streaming giant and French cinema owners may have already put it, and the other film purchased by Netflix, The Meyerowitz Stories with Adam Sandler and Ben Stiller, out of contention.
Netflix sparked uproar in France by refusing to put the movies on general release there, where subscription services must wait three years to stream films after they show in cinemas.
Spanish director and jury president Pedro Almodovar dropped a bombshell Wednesday by suggesting they should not win anything.
He said he could not imagine “the Palme d’Or nor any other prize being given to a film, and then not being able to see that film on a large screen”.
But his fellow jury member Hollywood star Will Smith took a strongly opposing view, singing Netflix’s praises to reporters.
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