'Pandemic' latest Korean editing test


"Pandemic," a Japanese disaster movie about a deadly virus, is at the center of controversy in South Korea after its importer, KTH Paran, deleted a substantial portion of the film and introduced its own ending without the Japanese producer's permission.

Directed by Takahisa Zeze ("Moon Child"), "Pandemic" opened here last month with a running time of 138 minutes, but 21 minutes had been cut and the ending had changed.

While the original featured a hopeful ending, the edited version ends abruptly with a subtitle that reads, "By July 2011, 3,950 patients were infected with the virus and 1,120 were found dead."

Tokyo Broadcasting System, "Pandemic's" producer, has requested that KTH revert to the original version but so far has been ignored. KTH has not reached a decision on settling with audience members seeking refunds.

"We're extremely dissatisfied about KTH's decision to develop a new ending that completely contradicts the director's version," a Tokyo Broadcasting official wrote in a letter to South Korea's Yonhap News Agency.

It is not the first time a South Korean importer has cut scenes of a foreign film without producer approval. "Speed 2" and "The Fifth Element" ran into disputes after local importers cut scenes, and a theater owner edited "Pulp Fiction" assuming that the film's opening scene, which repeats at the end, had been pasted into the print accidentally. (partialdiff)