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Bong Joon-Ho Says U.S. Version Of 'Snowpiercer' Won't Be A Director's Cut

by Kevin Jagernauth
October 7, 2013 3:31 PM
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Back in August some news surfaced to the horror of Bong Joon-ho fans everywhere; that The Weinstein Company were looking to slice and dice his upcoming "Snowpiercer" by upwards of twenty minutes. While many collectively freaked, the director himself at first remained diplomatic on the matter, calling the changes "pretty soft," even as cast members Chris Evans and Tilda Swinton were a bit more vocal about their worries. But now it seems the gloves are officially off, and those looking forward to the apocalyptic thriller have genuine reason to be concerned.

Speaking at the Busan International Film Festival where "Snowpiercer" recently screened, Bong Joon-ho noted it was one of the few territories where the film would be seen as intended. “We are still in discussions about the cut, but it is clear that this is the only director’s cut you will be able to see,” he said. While he didn't detail what changes were being made to his movie, saying only it will be “a little bit different,” Variety notes that according to their sources, "privately he is furious."

So where will the Harvey Weinstein version of "Snowpiercer" play? Well, The Weinstein Company have the rights to "Snowpiercer" in North America, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and the U.K., which means some very key territories will be getting a compromised cut. So, what are fans to do? You could start an online petition or perhaps it's time to ask for that region-free Blu-ray for Christmas and get ready to import the South Korean home video version whenever it arrives to see the film as the director intended.

There's likely more to come from this story, and certainly from a promotional standpoint, Harv won't want the director of the movie unhappy with the cut, which is rolling out to major markets around the world. How this all plays out will be interesting to see.

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  • Mr Anonymous | October 9, 2013 9:58 AMReply

    'Privately he is furious!'

    Damn right, i'd be too! So i guess i'll be getting the cut version in the UK. How is cutting 20mins of the film going to make it better when the original cut of the movie has already been widely praised. So why does it have to be cut????

  • Washington | October 9, 2013 1:04 AMReply

    Holy shit what's with all the weinstein bros apologists?

  • Chris | October 8, 2013 1:47 PMReply

    They are cutting it because it sucks. A two year old could "get" this movie. There was SINGING for chris sakes.

  • The Fanciful Norwegian | October 8, 2013 8:23 AMReply

    "You could start an online petition or perhaps it's time to ask for that region-free Blu-ray for Christmas and get ready to import the South Korean home video version whenever it arrives to see the film as the director intended."

    North Americans don't need a region-free player to watch Korean BDs (South Korea and North America are both in Region A), and viewers in the UK/Australia/NZ/South Africa will be able to watch uncut Region B editions from continental Europe. Which I of course advise them all to do, unless Weinstein changes his mind (har har).

  • Joe | October 7, 2013 10:42 PMReply

    If anyone at the Weinstein Company is reading this, I want you to know that despite the fact I'm a big fan of Bong Joon-Ho's films, unless his own cut -- THE cut of the movie -- is the one shown in theaters, it won't be one I pay to see. And when it comes time to buy the movie -- I rarely buy hard copies of movies anymore but I make an exception in Mr. Bong's films -- I'll make every effort to buy a copy that will not profit Miramax in any way.

    This kind of crap has to end. Release the REAL movie. I can only hope that one day Harvey Weinstein directs his own film and someone comes along and orders him to re-edit it. Perhaps then he'll realize that a troglodyte he makes himself out to be with these shenanigans. I recognize he does a lot of work to champion movies that might otherwise not be seen. That is not an excuse to engage in this kind of behavior.

  • MS | October 7, 2013 3:52 PMReply

    I think you guys are too much the "director's cut" purists. Sure, some films are significantly better when given room to breathe (Almost Famous is one that comes to mind), but many are lengthy and too indulgent. The last few films that Harvey got his scissorhands on were reportedly less cluttered versions of their festival cuts - I'm thinking of Blue Valentine, which had ten unnecessary minutes cut, and The Grandmaster, which could've been cut by another sixty minutes as far as I'm concerned. Who knows? I know it rankles the junior auteurists around here, but it may make the movie better.

  • huffy | October 7, 2013 9:58 PM

    While its true that Director's Cut doesn't necessarily guarantee it to be the superior version people are right to complain in this instance. Bong has never been a director with self-indulgent tendencies. Compared to, say, Wong Kar Wai he's much more economic with his storytelling. Chances are if he put it in the final cut it's important to the story and flow of the film. Harvey is really behind the times with this kind of bullshit. This isn't 1995 where you can hack a film to shit and get away with it. This cut has already generated tons of bad press and probably turned a lot of potential viewers off of the "official" release.

  • Gustavo | October 7, 2013 9:49 PM

    Oh, yeah, sure. Let a studio head chop the movie and dumb it down for general audiences. The filmmakers know nothing about making films. Great line of thought there, mate.

  • Charles | October 7, 2013 5:50 PM

    Considering the film is getting rave reviews around the world, why fix it if it ain't broke? I just saw the Chinese cut of The Grandmaster and it's infinitely better than the butchered U.S. version. Someone please keep Harvey away from the editing bay. He is terrible.

  • Tempus Fugit | October 7, 2013 5:48 PM

    God forbid the director who wants to show people the cut as was intended. Weinstein is obviously the victim here. Darn you Bong Joon-ho!

  • Boby | October 7, 2013 4:21 PM

    I've seen "The Snowpiercer" in France and I can say this : cutting twenty minutes won't make this movie better. It's impossible ! I don't even know what Weinstein wants to cut. It will destroy the all structure. Every single shot is necessary in "Snowpiercer". With twenty minutes less, the movie (its phenomenal production design, its narration, its bold ideas) will be clearly diminished.

  • RP | October 7, 2013 3:54 PM

    Umm, i don't think you actually know us very well.

  • Michael | October 7, 2013 3:43 PMReply

    Well, this sucks. But it's good that Bong Joon-ho is speaking his mind, expressing his concerns is the best way for his actual vision to make it to the states.

    It's mind boggling that they would change so much after it got such great reviews abroad. All they should have done was put subtitles on it.

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