Posted on Thursday, August 29th, 2013 by Angie Han
Cinephiles were up in arms when word got out that The Weinstein Co. was planning a new cut of Bong Joon-ho‘s Snowpiercer for the American audience, lest those Midwestern dimwits get confused by the story of a rebellion moving from one end of the train to another. The decision came across as an unnecessary affront to both the audience and the filmmaker, and left a bad taste in our mouths.
Now the director himself has weighed in with his thoughts on the new edit — or at least, his publicity-friendly thoughts on the new edit. He sounds pretty calm about it, though it’s quite possible he’s just being diplomatic to avoid controversy. Hit the jump to read his comments.
I came here after editing for the American version. I’ve never produced a new version for overseas premieres, and this is the first time I’m making a new version.
Weinstein is actually being pretty soft toward editing, probably because it’s noticed how critics have praised the film and know how angry movie fans get over new edits. They even asked me which parts I want to include in the film.
Bong doesn’t sound too happy about the Weinsteins’ decision, but nor does he sound angry. Of course, even if he were outraged he might prefer to keep it to himself. He has little to gain by getting embroiled in a public dispute with his American distributor.
Last we heard, the Weinsteins planned to whittle Snowpiercer down by 20 minutes, which doesn’t sound “pretty soft” to me. The original cut runs only 126 minutes long, so 20 minutes represents a pretty hefty chunk of it. It is some small comfort to know that Bong had some say in what got cut, but it’s probably a reasonable bet that if it were really up to him it wouldn’t have been cut at all.
No theatrical release date for the film has been announced, although at this point I’m betting quite a few cinephiles would rather just wait for the inevitable director’s cut DVD release.