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MAR DEL PLATA – Bong Joon-ho said, in a press conference Wednesday at the Mar del Plata Film Fest, that his talks with the Weinstein Company are now more about releasing the original cut of Snowpiercer instead of a shorter and faster version made by the distributor.
“I stayed in New York for two weeks before coming here to Mar del Plata, mostly because of this matter,” said the director. “And the good news is that after all the speculation and comments about that 20-minute cut, and considering the original version that was released in Korea and France also will be released in Japan and Hong Kong, we have been talking a lot about keeping the original cut for the U.S. release, so what I can say is…have faith.”
Controversy arose earlier this year when reports indicated distributor Harvey Weinstein would release a different cut that would supposedly fit better with U.S. audiences. Although it hasn’t been definitely confirmed yet, Bong’s statement in Mar del Plata hints that his futuristic thriller with its A-list cast (Chris Evans and Oscar winners Tilda Swinton, Octavia Spencer, Ed Harris, John Hurt and Jamie Bell) is now closer to an untouched opening.
Bong is currently included in the International Jury of the 28th Mar del Plata Film Fest, which programmed a retrospective of his films that included a black-and-white version of Mother, especially prepared for the fest by the film’s director together with cinematographer Kyung-Pyo Hong.
The filmmaker also mentioned the LatAm release of Snowpiercer, and said the film “already has a distributor for South America, so hopefully that will go in the same direction” as the U.S. one.
Bong also revealed his taste for Latin American cinema, mentioning Mexican legend Arturo Ripstein as a big favorite, together with younger Argentine filmmakers such as Matias Pineiro (Viola) and Pablo Giorgelli (Las Acacias).
“We should pay attention to what is happening in Latin American cinema right now,” he said. “I have been particularly interested in the realistic contents featured in recent LatAm films.”
Bong also tapped into Hollywood’s interest in Asian filmmakers: “After I made The Host, I had a U.S. agent that brought me scripts, but so far I haven’t found one I would really like to work with. I’ve directed five films, and I have written all of them. I have received some interesting Hollywood scripts, but when I read them I say, ‘What a good script! I will definitely go see this when it opens!’ ”
“I haven’t found a personal motivation to connect with any of them and turn them into films,” said Bong, who added he’s currently dangling with two different ideas for his next project, which will definitely be “a Korean film and not a Hollywood production.”
Mar del Plata Film Fest runs Nov. 16-24.
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