Bong Joon-ho’s “SNOWPIERCER” threatened with edits for American release?
I have a great optimism for the general audience. We will rise to the occasion that a challenging, exciting film presents. Sometimes, producers and distributors do not share as such. In this case, Bong Joon-ho, the world class South Korean filmmaker behind THE HOST and MOTHER, and his highly anticipated sci-fi tale SNOWPIERCER are apparently being threatened with cuts.
The Weinsteins, notorious for their editing interference with plenty of exciting filmmakers—one of the most central to horror being their horrid decision to edit down the nastiness of Alexandre Bustillo & Julien Maury’s contemporary great INSIDE—are reportedly asking Joon-ho to cut twenty minutes from SNOWPIERCER. Great British film writer and Festival programmer Tony Rayns tells IF, “TWC people have told Bong that their aim is to make sure the film ‘will be understood by audiences in Iowa … and Oklahoma.’” The idea here by The Weinstein Company and more specifically head Harvey, being that the broad audiences, and most likely middle class who the film’s allegory seems relevant to, will not grasp anything that isn’t action.
Of course, if true, there’s a great level of underestimation of American audiences here. Again, if true, it’s frankly insulting to think many across the country wouldn’t appreciate the character detail (naturally, what’s at stake) or subtext of a story about class warfare among apocalypse survivors aboard a high speed train. Trailers have revealed an expectedly rich looking film from the director, who has received no shortage of deserved acclaim since the likes of MEMORIES OF MURDER.
Until substantiated by either party, we’re unsure if American audiences we’ll see a trimmed down version. The current cut is doing incredibly well in South Korea, fast breaking records for audience attendance. If ours is truncated however, let’s hope it remains the realized vision of the artist.