Kim Jee-woon's I SAW THE DEVIL Banned From Public Theaters In Korea.

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Kim Jee-woon's I SAW THE DEVIL Banned From Public Theaters In Korea.
So, just how hard edged is Kim Jee-woon's upcoming revenge thriller I Saw The Devil? Hard enough that producers have been planning to release it with an 18+ rating - the highest rating given to films approved for public release in Korea. The rating they've been given - and given twice, now - however is one known as 'Limited Screening', a highly restrictive rating that only allows the film to be screened in special theaters that only show adult films. Currently no such theaters exist, meaning the film has effectively been banned.

Originally submitted for ratings review a month ago, the film has undergone re-editing since first being hit by the rating but to no avail. The rating stood a second submission and distributors have now called off scheduled press screenings while they try to address the ratings board concerns and get a rating on the film that will allow them to actually release it. The official concern? Scenes that "severely damage the dignity of human values."

Kyung-chul is a dangerous psychopath who kills for pleasure. He has committed infernal serial murders in diabolic ways that one cannot even imagine and his victims range from young women to even children. The police have chased him for a long time, but were unable to catch him. One day, Joo-yeon, daughter of a retired police chief becomes his prey and is found dead in a horrific state.

Her fiance Dae-hoon, a top secret agent, decides to track down the murderer himself. He promises himself that he will do everything in his power to take bloody vengeance against the killer, even if it means that he must become a monster himself to get this monstrous and inhumane killer.


One of the most hyped films of the year thanks to its pairing of actors Lee Byung-hyun (A Bittersweet Life, The Good The Bad And The Weird, GI Joe) and Choi Min-Sik (Oldboy) with the director of A Tale Of Two Sisters, this sort of thing will only liken heighten the anticipation for the film around the world - it premieres as part of the Toronto International Film Festival in September - but could be a huge blow to its domestic success unless they can get things sorted quickly.
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Jee-woon KimHoon-jung ParkByung-hun LeeMin-sik ChoiIn-seo KimHo-jin ChunActionCrimeDrama

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More about I Saw The Devil

AdamAugust 8, 2010 5:20 PM

I am now much more interested in this film. And I was already interested.

CuttermaranAugust 8, 2010 7:35 PM

Pure Marketing.
How far can you go, when there's Saw 1-whatever, Hostel and all the other torture shit?

jack burton jr.August 8, 2010 8:38 PM

the movie will be nothing like saw or hostel Kim Ji-Woon' is a master filmmaker id say its more than pure marketing , we here in the US have the MPAA where as most if not all other countries the Government rates the movies

Todd BrownAugust 8, 2010 8:44 PM

Definitely not a marketing move. They've submitted twice already trying to get it passed and haven't been able to. And now they're missing their release date in Korea and whatever marketing money they've spent so far has been wasted. I don't know if the specific scenes causing the problems are because of explicit on screen violence or the underlying tone of the thing - the reason cited could allow for either - but one scene mentioned specifically involved part of a corpse being fed to a dog. Standards are different in different countries and the ratings people in Korea have decided this isn't just explicit but offensive and degrading and it seems to be the degrading part that they're keying in on.

xinoAugust 8, 2010 8:51 PM

point of banning the movie? it will just fuel people's thirst to further see it even more.

https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawkApn87l2xdu4e9ECUdtl4_ayvObTQkH8AAugust 8, 2010 11:20 PM

I'd say this ban just transforms the original marketing into a different kind of buzz, judging from the breathless anticipation on Korean Twitter and various boards

These days it's not rare for a Korean release to stray from original release date. Sometimes you open a day early due to highly buzzed Hollywood movie. Or you're leftover from '06-'07 bubble of over-production finally getting a pitiful drop. Or you can't reach an agreement with distributors on profit/PR cost sharing, etc.

There have even been commercial star vehicles delayed almost half a year and mucking up its PR, just to gamble on more screen numbers it can get in the Summer - because the original Spring date met a bad recession.

Unlike Devil, most delayed releases don't get constant news coverage using vivid word-images of what's being banned (even without any new details forthcoming, until Wednesday 8/11!) There's a sense of awe tied to watching how 70 billion won-investment will "sink or swim", and the press repeatedly tells you about "evidence" of the participating big names' market value, their upcoming red carpet appearance at Toronto, etc. Because of Kim's knack to stylize action in a spectacular and pleasurable way (euphemism for "gratuitous"? ha!), as we previously saw in Bittersweet Life and Good, Bad and Weird. It's hard to deny the different marketing boost from a "controversial ban" especially when we've had other way-grim and ultra-violent gross-outs like The Butcher and Kim Ki-duk allowed release.

Because Choi Min-sik had called the project a "bona fide hit" since early development even before Kim's involvement, it's unlikely whatever changes Kim's made to it, suddenly turned a commercial big stars-showdown, into some Korean Haneke (maybe Korean "Martyrs" then?)

ghoul73August 9, 2010 5:47 AM

"but one scene mentioned specifically involved part of a corpse being fed to a dog"
= so, the reason for the ban is cruelty to animals? :)

anyway, like someone already said above - I was VERY interested in this from the 1st announcement, and now I'm DYING TO SEE IT!

in Kim Ji-Woon I trust!

brettyoungAugust 9, 2010 6:44 AM

I very much doubt it's for animal cruelty. Take kim-ki duk's "The Isle" for example, whereby a frog is beaten to death with a stick and a fish has sashimi taken off it while it's alive and is thrown back in the water and that received a release. As Todd says I think there must be something cultural/morally offensive specifically to S. Koreas rating panel for them to take that view. East Asia, to westerners, may have some cultural quirks in regards to film. Take the election films, a triad handshake in the second one meant it received a cat iii rating automatically and the scene was excised fully from the mainland China version. And the BBFC here in the UK notoriously have a problem with violence, especially that of a sexual nature, against women so I'm guessing there's something in tone that has led to the ban of the devil rather than a particular scene.

sd6chimpAugust 9, 2010 8:26 AM

"we here in the US have the MPAA where as most if not all other countries the Government rates the movies" ---

Are you aiming to continue the stereotype that Americans don't know or care about the outside world?? Yeah, that's right, only you have an independant body like the MPAA. The rest of us all depend on our dictatorship style governments! Poor widdle us! Except as one fellow already mentioned in the UK we have the BBFC. No, we don't have the likes of Gordon Brown et al taking on the role of scissoring film on our behalf. A quick google shows me that Australia has the ACB. Japan has a constitution that prohibits censorship in general. Russia does not appear to have formalised censorship (go figure), the French system is ubelievably lenient compared to the US and UK (at a glance - you can see the Exorcist and Ichi the Killer aged 12).....Need I go on??? Wikipedia has a whole list I could check out...

If you are going to make a sweeping statement like that you should know what you are talking about!

dvesselAugust 9, 2010 4:40 PM

Marketing or not I don't give a shit. Kim Ji-Woon is always interesting to watch. Same with the leads. If the brutality serves the story then I'm all for it. Can't wait to see this.

ChevalierAguilaAugust 9, 2010 4:48 PM

Well, i'm watching this movie, that's for sure.

denizAugust 10, 2010 1:01 AM

oh no, really?!?!?
I'm in Seoul at the moment and I wanted to watch this movie in theatres. :-(

Here in Seoul, everywhere you go, you see posters of this movie. In the metro, on busses even in the kiosk. So maybe, it is really a marketing step. I'll call the theatres and ask wether there is any chance to watch this movie.