[ENTERTAINMENT]Movie people upset with ban of romantic drama

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[ENTERTAINMENT]Movie people upset with ban of romantic drama

People in the movie industry were pleased a couple of years ago when Lee Su-young, a director, was chosen to head Korea's Media Rating Board. A committee of the board sets movie ratings, and Mr. Lee had said that Korean movies should be allowed more freedom of expression to help the industry develop and compete internationally.

But many of those same people feel betrayed now that the board has ruled that the romantic film "Too Young to Die," directed by Park Jin-pyo, is unfit for public viewing. The movie tells the story of a couple in their 70s, and contains explicit sex scenes. Late last month, the board said that the film could only be shown to "restricted," which essentially amounts to a ban, for no theaters in the country are able to show such films. It was like a death sentence for "Too Young to Die," which was supposed to open sometime this month.

The scene in question is a seven-minute-long segment in which the elderly couple are making love. The head of the rating committee under the Media Rating Board, Yu Su-yeol, explained the decision: "Explicit images of the male genitals and oral sex go beyond our common sense, and are therefore inappropriate for general public screening."

"Too Young to Die" is indeed a daring film; the protagonist couple, Park Chi-gyu and Lee Sun-ye, are nonprofessional actors and a real-life married couple. The movie is the first by the director, and follows his stint as a producer at a popular TV station.

The movie played Cannes this year, followed by the Jeonju festival. Though Mr. Park didn't win anything for "Too Young to Die," he got plenty of attention from the press. Now, after the snub by the ratings board, he's getting a lot of support from industry insiders, most of whom are unstinting in their praise for the film and disappointment with the board. In fact, a group of young filmmakers have issued a statement that calls the board's rejection of "Too Young to Die" suppression of the freedom of expression and an instance of the board overstepping its bounds.

But they are still hoping. An executive from the production company that put together the film, Seo Young-hee, told the JoongAng Ilbo English Edition the company will ask the board to re-examine its ruling.

by Chun Su-jin

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