The Supreme Court of Korea yesterday (Nov 14) overturned a teenager restricted rating given to Kim Jho Gwang-soo’s gay romance Just Friends? by the Korea Media Ratings Board (KMRB).
The film had originally requested a 15-and-over rating and went through appeals for four years to get this final judgment.
Kim Jho - who uses both his father’s & mother’s surnames as part of a gender equality movement in South Korea, declared it a victory and that the KMRB “should no longer judge homosexuality and heterosexuality by different standards in ratings classifications.”
With a 30-minute running time, Just Friends? premiered in the Busan International Film Festival’s Wide Angle Short Film Showcase section in 2009. About a young gay couple, the film centers around what happens when one is doing his mandatory military service and the other visits him at the same time the soldier’s mother happens to be there. The film features kissing and touching that the KMRB deemed “hazardous to teenagers”.
The Supreme Court stated that “to treat homosexuality as a hazard and restrict the production and distribution of information about it, there is a concern that it will excessively limit homosexuals, who are in a sexual minority, in their personal rights, rights to the pursuit of happiness, […] freedom of expression and rights to equality.”
A vocal activist for gay rights as well as a filmmaker, Kim Jho recently had a very public gay wedding in the middle of downtown Seoul this September.