The Korean Media Rating Board (KMRB) just doesn’t want to let Kim Ki-duk release his new film Moebius. After cutting 21 scenes in hopes to release the film in South Korea, the KMRB voted once more the film be restricted from inland cinemas. The KMRB described Moebius as “terrifying and harmful to underage audiences,” depicting “unethical and unsocial expressions of sexual activity between immediate family members”.
The South Korean auteur, is returning to Venice with Moebius (out of competition), after winning the Golden Lion last year for his critically acclaimed film Pietà. The good news is that Kim showed his new film to critics, journalists and industry professionals and 87% of them would approve to show the film in South Korea. Unfortunately, it isn’t up to them to decide, but it is great to hear that the film is considered so good that the violence in it is almost secondary. It sounds like another quality film from the director. At least that’s how people who really know something about cinema are reasoning, what goes on in the minds of the KMRB is beyond me. They should be proud to have an internationally critically acclaimed director just wanting to show the good work he has done (I’ve never seen a bad Kim Ki-duk film) to his compatriots.
There seems to be at least some good news for the director and the film however, because the company behind it managed to sell the film already for Italy, Germany and Italian- and German-speaking Switzerland. As an Italian I’m very happy and proud of this. Considering that Moebius’ production cost around $1 million it should be easily able to make its money back on the home video market alone, but being someone who cares about art and that many people get to see good art, this has almost become a matter of principles here. I want this film to succeed, because I love Kim and his passion and the people who worked on Moebius deserve to have their work shown in their own country, where they can get the recognition they deserve.
What a sad day for cinema.
South Korean auteur Kim Ki-duk’s new film Moebius was going to be censored in South Korea unless he made some cuts. Kim submitted a re-cut version, because he aims for a September release of the film in South Korean theaters. The Korean Media Rating Board reserves itself a three month period to re-evaluate Moebius. One minute and twenty seconds, twenty-one incest related scenes had to be trimmed from the director’s cut in hopes to be able to show the film in its own country of origin.
The Golden Lion winning director himself commented: “As a filmmaker [cutting the scenes] is unfortunate, but in a market environment where major movies dominate theaters, I could not give up on this hard-won opportunity for the film to be released”. He also added: “I would be able to share the meaning of my film in overseas markets and film festivals, but emerging actors or staff members that took part in the project need the film to be shown in Korea so they can have the opportunity to become better known”. Kim himself was clearly displeased with the state of artistic freedom in Korea: “In the future, films that need to portray scenes that could be problematic will have to seek working with foreign actors and production companies”.
At least he has a very honorable reason for re-editing. I can definitely appreciate that. It shows he truly cares about his cast and crew. Demonstrating noble character, Kim Ki-duk puts other people first, even before his own art. That is certainly something to admire and respect. I’m sure a lot of self-important and self-abosrbed directors wouldn’t even think about anyone else. In fact I’ll admit that I myself only thought of “what I was going to get”, but that is a very egoist way to reason. So I am still completely on board with Moebius, super excited, I’m sure we’ll get the entire film on home video and I love the man even more than after watching Arirang. He is a good person.
More Moebius related stories
New developments on Kim Ki-duk’s Moebius. It looks like the film will be restricted domestically: Except there are no theaters that show “restricted” releases in South Korea. The Korean Media Rating Board announced: “The story and contents of the movie is highly violent, terrifying and harmful to underage audiences. The unethical and unsocial expressions of sexual activity between immediate family members make it only suitable for screening in limited theaters”. At this point Kim Ki-duk’s production company is considering its options: Either re-edit and re-submit the film for a new rating or only exhibit the picture at festivals (which is allowed).
I’m not sure how big of a problem this is going to be for Kim Ki-duk, since he is still able to advertise it and alternatively show it domestically. Also, remember that his films are more financially (and critically) successful in foreign countries and low-budget, so he could still make his money back without compromising his vision. Undoubtedly this is not good news, but if he plays it smart he could turn it into publicity and attract a certain audience keen on violent content.
Meanwhile, the first poster for Moebius is a bit too reminiscent of the one for Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion (2011). Hopefully his marketing team steps it up a little and doesn’t give up on this very interesting sounding project.