I thought I would start my first blog on Vegan Life with something topical – a film review of the new Netflix documentary, Okja. Films and documentaries are an area that I very much enjoy and a medium through which I believe the Vegan movement and lifestyle can grow and develop.
Influence of documentaries and Netflix
This has been aided in recent years by a number of films, documentaries and ‘mockumentaries’ telling the stories behind the meat and dairy industry. These documentaries are giving voice to the voiceless (that’s the animals in case it wasn’t obvious!).
I’m going to focus on just one of the films recently released by Netflix. The distributor actually has an impressive array of environmental and social documentaries that are worth watching. Because of this, I think they hold a key position in getting information and insight out to those who may have no previous experience and limited knowledge of veganism.
Okja – an Emotional South Korean Film
Okja was released on Netflix earlier this year. The film is not the usual informative documentary style I know and love. Instead, Okja tells the story of a not too distant future where a new breed of ‘super pig’ is bred – bigger, tastier and better for the environment than normal pigs.
Although this story is fictional, the emotions are real. The film by South Korean Director, Bong Joon-ho, delivers a narrative with care and compassion that puts animals at the forefront. It raises the audiences awareness of the lifeless, emotionless and clinical business mentality of the meat industry.
In the same way as Simon Amstell’s BBC ‘mockumentary’, Carnage, commissioned earlier this year (definitely worth a watch if you haven’t already seen it), Okja manages to make you think about the realities of a society unconcerned about the welfare of animals. It does so without blaming the audience or being too confrontational as many vegan promoting mediums are deemed to be. It manages to engage with a variety of issues surrounding the meat industry without being preachy or intrusive on the subject.
The South Korean style is interesting and different. The tale of a little girls love, compassion and determination catches the heart of many who have watched it and I dare say may help move quite a few people towards considering a vegan lifestyle.
If you want a more detailed review of this film, many are available, including an excellent review by The Independent:
Vegan Headlines On The Increase
It’s a promising sign that in recent years there has been an explosion of media coverage on Veganism and Netflix is definitely raising public awareness of the practices and implications of the meat and dairy industry. Many new film commissions are highlighting the environmental, moral, ethical and health benefits of a vegan lifestyle.
Current Top 5 pro-vegan Documentaries
There will definitely be more documentary reviews from me but, until then, I leave you with a list of my top 5 environmental and pro-vegan documentaries and films available on Netflix that are worth a watch!
- Okja (Animal welfare and compassion)
- Cowspiracy (environmental impact of animal agriculture)
- Forks over Knives (Health benefits of veganism)
- What the Health (Health benefits of veganism)
- Chasing Coral – this is on my ‘ones to watch’ list
There are many more I can recommend. If you are interested, comment and leave your own suggestions below or if there is any film you would like me to review on Vegan Life, get in touch and let me know!
Until next time, thanks for reading.