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Kim Ki-duk Takes Knife to ‘Moebius’ for Censors

Pic needed numerous cuts to earn release certificate

Getting to the Lido was easy for South Korean director Kim Ki-duk, who presents his “Moebius” in the Venice festival’s out of competition section Tuesday. Getting his picture a release at home was altogether harder.

As is Kim’s wont, “Moebius” tells a frank tale that delves deep into the dark, obsessive side of the Korean psyche.

The story involves a fight over the husband’s infidelity, ending in the woman dismembering her son.

It was too much for the Korean Media Rating Board, which said “Moebius” failed two of its seven tests of decency — due to its “high levels of sex and nudity” and “scenes of incest,” which it considered as behavior that should not be imitated.

“The story and contents of the movie are 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,” it said in June.

As there are no such theaters in South Korea, the film was effectively banned in its home market.

Kim responded by taking the knife to his own creation, editing scenes and shots before re-submitting it twice to the KMRB. Both times the censors refused.

Then in mid-July, Kim threw himself at the mercy of his not-always-sympathetic fellow Korean filmmakers. After a private screening for critics and senior industry figures, he asked them whether he should persist or give up. Of the 107 votes, an overwhelming 93 (87%) said they wanted to see “Moebius” released in South Korea.

One more series of cuts and a third submission to the KMRB in early August earned Kim the release certificate he needed. The film is now set for a release in late September.

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