What is it with Korean movies? Moebius

. 2 min read

Okay, more about Kim Ki-duk, because I'm excited and Korean movies are exciting and I might be hyperventilating a little with the excitement. But first, if you haven't checked out yesterday's article about Kim's Time and a little foreword to the subject of Korean directors altogether, do it now. We have plenty of time.

Now. Let it be stated that Kim has made a ton of brilliant movies, and I can't go through all of them right now, so I had to pick one, and I decided to pick Moebius (2013) - for obvious reasons, if you've seen the film. And if you haven't, be advised: I'll be using some sexually concise language in this article.

Moebius is about a family of three - a father, a mother, and a son - the mother of which revenges her husband's affair by cutting their son's penis off with a kitchen knife in his sleep. The father feels guilty and cuts off his own penis and has surgeons insert it where his son lost his. The penis seems to have a memory, however, since even when attached to the son, it can only turn on by the stimulation of the mother.

Now, I know it sounds sick - but that's exactly what Kim is going for! The name of the movie perfectly describes the arrangement of the plot and the characters. A Moebius strip of paper starts ahead, flips on its head, and attaches itself back to the start, creating a seamless and neverending road that covers both sides of the paper. In the movie, the son has the father's penis who only likes to have sex with the mother, for whom the appropriate sex partner is the father, who has no penis. (I may have overexplained this. Hope you got it.)

At first glance it might seem that Moebius has no philosophical or psychological content whatsoever. I mean, it's just a sick comedy. But then there is the guilt the father feels for his son's suffering. And the way pain and pleasure are very similar in nature. And what has to be going on in the mother's head for her to do what she does? Then there's also the scene after the mutilation and before the surgery in which the son's friends are gangraping the girl from the store and the son is just pretending to do it so that his friends won't find out what he's missing. And also the fact that no one says a word in the entire movie - you can draw all kinds of conclusion from that.

But then again, perhaps Kim meant to say nothing philosophical with the movie. Perhaps he just meant is as entertainment in itself, with no ulterior motive. Or perhaps the movie is a metaphor for something he's gone through in his life and his way of dealing with it. (I said metaphor - I don't mean to suggest Kim has lost any organs.)

You'll never know. You can only form your own interpretations.