You've probably heard about all the fuss surrounding Bong Joon-ho's Okja. First, there was the debacle at Cannes with Netflix taking jabs at the festival. And then shortly after, we have certain theatre chains in South Korea refusing to show the film primarily because of its lack of theatrical exclusivity. There's so much focus on movie politics here, when the focus should really be on the film itself, which will be absolutely phenomenal.
And that's exactly what TIFF is doing. Getting an email in my inbox today announcing a theatrical run for Okja at the TIFF Bell Lightbox (including a screening with Bong Joon-ho Skyping in for a Q+A) simply made my day. Luckily for Toronto, TIFF cares more about celebrating the art of cinema, rather than the politics that surround it. I'm not exactly sure how wide a release Okja's getting in North America, but a quick search of the title on both Cineplex and Fandango right now isn't turning up any hits. Thank god for TIFF and its wonderful team of programmers for staying true to form and advocating for the cinematic art form. This reminds me of when TIFF decided to screen The Interview back in 2014. Toronto is a great city to live in for a long list of reasons, and the TIFF Bell Lightbox is pretty high up on that list.