Director Bong Joon-ho's "Snowpiecer" is by all accounts an excellent film that's breaking records in the filmmaker's home of North Korea. Well our friends at Twitchfilm have bad news for fans of the next film from the director of the modern giant monster classic "The Host": The Weinstein Company, which is distributing the film to the English-speaking territories of the U.S., New Zealand, South Africa, and the U.K., has ordered cuts as well as new narration so the movie will sell better in middle America.
"Snowpiercer," which runs a pretty lean 126 minutes, will likely receive 20 minutes of cuts according to the film's director who was on hand at its July 29th premiere. Speaking with film critic and programmer Tony Rayns, Bong "revealed that most of the cuts would come in the form of character detail, effectively turning this rich Sci-Fi thriller into a straightforward action film. Adding further insult to injury, voiceovers will now be added to the opening and closing of the film."
The film, which features an intriguing international cast including Tilda Swinton, Kang-ho Song, Chris Evans, John Hurt, and Ed Harris, is set in a post-apocalyptic future where the remnants of humanity survive on the titular train, with the poor and downtrodden relegated to the back while the wealthy enjoy the comfort of the front. Given TWC's track record, I can easily imagine South Korean mega-star Song's parts being truncated dramatically (or potentially dubbed).
The Twitch piece has a find rundown of some of the Asian films that TWC boss Harvey Weinstein has had cut in the past to make palatable for U.S. audiences, but it's not a new thing. Bob and Harvey Weinstein's very first film, "The Burning," suffered at their hands after completion when director Tony Maylam was locked out of the editing booth during post-production and FX man Tom Savini was tasked with creating additional scenes (including a nonsensical tag at the end of the movie).
If this bothers you--if you're tired of Harvey Weinstein thinking American audiences don't deserve complex and interesting films, then make some noise: say something on their Facebook page, sound off at their Twitter feed, and generally make it known that you want TWC to start respecting films and filmmakers from around the world.