The latest work from South Korean filmmaker Kim Ki-duk was effectively banned by the Korean Media Rating Board (KMRB) earlier this month, after it awarded Moebius a "restricted rating". Such a rating limits the film's release to "speciality theatres" rather than regular multiplexes, the problem being that no such venues currently exist in the country.
Desperate to see the film secure a release, Kim has agonised over his final cut, desperate that the offending direct portrayals of incest remain, albeit in a manner that appeases the KMRB. In a letter from Kim that was released to the press today, he revealed that 21 separate scenes deemed "too problematic" have been removed or altered in order to get the film approved. Kim hopes that by doing this, Moebius can keep its previously scheduled domestic release date in September.
In the letter, Kim takes aim at the KMRB's overly cautious attitude:
"The plotline or expression of the scene may appear obscure, depending on the comprehension level of each audience member. But it is my hope that mature adult viewers would be able to discern the nuance and understand my intentions. 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."
Kim goes on to say that many of the cast and crew who worked on the film deserve to have their efforts appreciated by the home crowd, which is difficult enough in a marketplace increasingly cannibalised by mainstream blockbusters.
In the past, Kim's recent films like Pieta and Arirang, have received only very limited domestic releases - or none at all - despite being praised and decorated at festivals overseas. This has led to his films being extensively pirated in Korea.
"I have no choice but to seek domestic distribution for the film," Kim added, "even if it means [cutting scenes], because I am afraid the cast and crew would lose their share of the film."
Whether Kim's efforts pay off remains to be seen.
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