Cannes Critics' Week selection Too Young To Die by South Korean director Park Jin-pyo has been effectively banned in its home country, following a decision by the local Media Ratings Board to give the film a 'restricted' rating.
The rating prohibits advertising of any kind and obliges the film to be shown in specially-designated adults-only cinemas. However, with the legal basis of such venues still in question, none currently exist in which to screen the film.
Too Young To Die, which has also been selected by the Toronto International Film Festival as part of this year's National Cinema Programme focusing on South Korea, is a part-fiction, part-documentary account of an elderly couple who meet, fall in love and rediscover sex. A seven-minute long take capturing the real-life couple having sex at night in the absence of a film crew was cited of particular concern by the Ratings Board.
The decision reportedly divided the government-appointed civilian board, with votes split 4-4 and board chairman Kim Su-yong, a veteran director who will form the subject of a retrospective at this year's Pusan International Film Festival, casting the deciding vote.
Production company May Film has announced that they will not agree to voluntary cuts in the film, leading to some confusion over the movie's fate. Distributor Big Blue Films had originally intended to release the title at the end of August, after receiving financial assistance from the government-supported Korean Film Commission through a fund which supports the distribution of feature-length digital films.
This marks the second instance in which the Ratings Board has issued the 'restricted' rating to a film, following a May 21st decision regarding North Korean documentary Animal Copulation. The 290-minute documentary, which has screened on public television in North Korea, was suppressed by the board for its explicit presentation of animal genitalia and sex. Importer Narae Film has since agreed to resubmit the film with several problematic close-ups removed.