Korean auteur Kim Ki-duk has been having a hard with his latest film, the controversial Moebius
, which is set to have its world premiere later this month at the Venice International Film Festival, where it will screen out of competition. Following three rounds of assessment by the Korea Media Ratings Board (KMRB), Kim's film has finally secured a rating for general release.
The film was initially slapped with a restricted rating, which is effectively a ban in a country with no specialty theaters. KMRB's main objection was with the film's sexual content, which features instances of incest, a particularly taboo subject in Korea. Acquiescing to the board's requests, the filmmaker cut one minute and 40 seconds from 20 scenes from his feature but upon its second review by the ratings agency the restricted seal remained in place.
Kim slashed another 50 seconds from 12 scenes in the film but before going back to the board he presented the film to a specially invited group of 109 film journalists at a screening held at the Korean Film Council (KOFIC). Guests were asked to vote on whether they felt the film should be granted a release. 87% responded in the affirmative and after being reviewed a third time by the board, Moebius has now been granted a release, albeit with the highest possible rating, which will prevent anyone under 18 from seeing the film.
Following news of his successful appeal, Kim expressed both relief and dismay at having to mutilate his own film in order for it to be seen in his home country. The KMRB is usually lenient towards excessive violence in films but much more conservative when it comes to sex. While Korean films depicting sexual violence have been on the rise recently, such as Fatal, Azooma, Don't Cry Mommy and Dirty Blood, director Kim seemed to have pushed the issue further than the board was comfortable with.
Moebius will be released by Next Entertainment World in Korea at some point in September.
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