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.