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After a whole heap of ratings problems, and some last minute edits, Kim Ji-woon’s (“The Good, The Bad, The Weird) new film, “I Saw The Devil”, has finally been released in Korea.
Despite an all-star cast including Lee Byung-hun (“A Bittersweet Life”) and Choi Min-sik (“Oldboy”), the film has had troubles with the ratings board. As reported earlier, the initial “Limited Screening” rating that the first two versions of the film received meant that it could only be screened in theaters that show exclusively adult content, a type of theater that doesn’t exist, effectively banning the film.
Desperate to get their movie a wider release, or to be honest, any sort of domestic release at all, the filmmakers went back to the editing room. The result is a rating of “Teenager Restricted”, which most closely approximates an NC-17 rating in Korea. What did it cost? It cost seven minutes of screen time.
In the Korea Times, Kim says of the newest version of the film
It’s like sushi with a little less wasabi. The savory texture of the fish is still there but with a little less tang.
The article goes on to say
While subtle hints of “Hannibal-esque” cannibalism remain, explicit depictions of handling human body parts like pork chops are gone. And yet, even the lead actor Lee Byung-hun said the film is “still smothered with plenty of wasabi,” and indeed, the film offers some of the most grotesque images that will be difficult to erase.
With the last minute cuts the “I Saw The Devil” was released Thursday as originally scheduled. Which version of the film will appear at festivals and internationally remains to be seen.