This week’s Venice International Film Festival will be the one and only opportunity for the world’s filmgoers to watch the locally banned original version of Kim Ki-duk’s controversial work, “Moebius.”
“I am going to send the edited version of the movie to all of the international film festivals except the ongoing Venice Festival, and I think that’s the right decision to make,” the director said during a press meeting in Seoul on Friday, before leaving for Venice to attend the film’s world premiere on Tuesday.
“Once I send the original version overseas, it will very likely become illegally downloadable online. And if the public gets its access to the version that way, everything I’ve tried so far against (the local) censors’ decisions becomes meaningless.
|Director Kim Ki-duk speaks during a press conference promoting his latest work “Moebius” in Seoul on Friday. (Yonhap News)|
“It is our reality that the public cannot see the full-length version of this movie in Korea, and I think there should be a phase where those who want to see the original version and those who ban it debate the situation,” he said.
Even before its release, “Moebius” has been creating much buzz for its controversial subject matter, especially scenes that depict incestuous encounters between a mother and son.
The original version of the film was banned for local screening when it was first submitted to the state-run Korea Media Rating Board in June. The censorship authority only lifted its ban of the film last month after director Kim resubmitted the film twice and cut about three minutes ― mostly from the incest scenes ― from the original version.
After the Venice screening, local as well as overseas viewers will only have access to the edited version.
“The scenes I cut are like the heart of a human body,” the director said. “The scenes can be also seen as a running train’s final destination. And I feel like this train just broke down right before reaching its last stop.”
The film deals with a dysfunctional family whose father (Cho Jae-hyun) is having an affair with another woman. His wife (Lee Eun-woo), severely tormented by his infidelity, chooses to damage her teenage son (Seo Young-joo) in order to hurt her spouse.
The film is almost a silent movie; it is the first Kim Ki-duk movie that has barely any lines.
“(Having no lines) was a conscious decision,” the director said. “It’s something new that I tried. I wanted the audience to be able to understand the story without hearing any lines. I thought it would be nice if they can feel the movie just through its images.”
Actor Cho Jae-hyun is known for his performances in Kim’s early works, including the director’s feature debut “Crocodile” (1996). The last time Cho starred in one of Kim’s movies was 11 years ago, when he played the cruel gangster in the infamously violent 2002 movie “Bad Guy.”
“I fondly remember my first meeting with Kim,” Cho said, adding no one knew who Kim was when he decided to star in his debut film. “He was an obscure filmmaker at the time, but his scripts were highly original. ‘Crocodile’ is particularly unforgettable, as I really got to indulge in my passion for acting (with that movie).”
“Moebius” will have its world premiere screening on Tuesday during the Venice International Film Festival. The film has been included in the festival’s noncompetition lineup.
It will also be featured during the upcoming Toronto International Film Festival, to be held from Sept. 5 to 15.
The movie hits Korean theaters on Sept. 5.
By Claire Lee (email@example.com