Moebius (2013) | DVD release

October 7th, 2014
Author: Meredith Taylor

Director: Kim Ki-duk

Cast: Lee Eun-woo, Cho Jae-hyun, Seo Young-ju

Drama  Korea

After his triumphal Golden Lion win (in 2012) with Pietà, a vile drama about maternal incest – Korean maverick, Kim Ki-duk, again shocked audiences with another stomach-turning and frank tale of familial dysfunction in the shape of Moebius. Kim took the knife several times to his own film, in order to obtain a release certificate. Digging deep into the dark, obsessive side of the Korean psyche, Moebius is certainly a difficult film to watch and several viewers found it too much to bear, leaving in disgust. Suffice to say, it involves genital mutilation (0f a teenage boy) and incest (again) by his mother (Lee Eun-woo). The boy in question (Seo Young-ju) is castrated by his mother in a strange act of revenge after she discovers her husband’s infidelity.  Quite how the mother’s female thought process come to inflict this vicarious punishment on her son, is difficult to fathom. But feeling guilty on both counts, the appalled father (Cho Jae-hyun) offers his own member for a transplant. Not only is this possibly the most strident form of self-sacrifice, it’s also the most painful one, but remember, we are in Korea. The father then begins an obsessive trawl through internet sites in order to instruct himself in methods of ‘self-surgery’, or, in this case, self-mutilation.

The operation is a success but the patient becomes the unfortunate object of his mother’s sexual attraction. Not only this, but, in a voracious twist, she also plays a supporting role as a shopkeeper who then sleeps with the father and his son. Sexual arousal is very much the prime focus of this drama, but not in a good way. Entirely silent (apart from the odd distraught howl) the film feels like an endurance test made all the more effective in its mental torture by its almost complete wordlessness.  Not recommended for the feint of heart. MT

Now on general release. Reviewed at Venice Film Festival 2013

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