By Dan Tabor
Arts & Entertainment Editor, Geekadelphia
As fans of cinema we often talk about seeing films to support the filmmakers who make them and no other film this year makes a better case for this than Bong Joon-ho’s (The Host) post-apocalyptic masterpiece Snowpiercer.
The English language film based on the French comic Le Transperceneige stars Chris Evans (Captain America), Tilda Swinton, Ed Harris and Octavia Spencer in one of the most ambitious South Korean films ever. The $40 million epic is the story of a post apocalyptic future where the world has been plummeted into a new ice age and all that is left of humanity rides on a train powered by a perpetual-motion engine, on a globe-spanning track.
The passengers on the train are also arranged from front to back by an almost medieval class system, the rich in the front, and the poor in the back. The film chronicles the greatest rebellion in 17 years aboard the train as a group of rebels from the rear led by Curtis Everett (Chris Evans) slowly make their way car by car to the front to confront the mastermind and eccentric billionaire who created Snowpiercer, Wilford.
If you have already heard of Snowpiercer that’s probably because the film has already toured the international festival circuit for over a year. The film has been met with accolades and released in almost every major film market except the US. So why has a film that seems like it would be an easy sell and already grossed double its budget abroad had such a hard road to American cinemas, you can blame the Weinsteins for that one.
The Weinsteins acquired the film back in 2012 based on the script and much like The Grandmaster, they thought the film should be fine-tuned, i.e. shortened for American audiences, by the tune of 20 minutes. The film currently runs at a lean 2 hours, and after the seeing the film it’s hard to see where they would cut it, given the film as is runs at a very brisk pace.
The saga of Snowpiercer has been a very public battle for both the distributor and Bong Joon-ho as the director has been very vocal about his battle to keep the film he made his own much to the Weinstein’s dismay. The brothers, Harvey in particular have a long standing reputation for forcing directors to re-cut their films or they just don’t get released. Snowpiercer was even rumored to have already been cut by an in house editor to motivate Bong Joon-ho to do what Wong Kar Wai did for the Weinsteins, cutting the film himself to retain some creative control.
While Snowpiercer was once promised a big summer opening it’s now being dumped only on a handful of screens with almost no fanfare in a move that seems made just to spite the director after he fought so hard to keep his creative vision on screen. So this is where you come in. A ticket purchased for Snowpiercer is a ticket that says, I believe in the filmmaker and his intended vision. So make your vote count, because if Snowpiercer fails, The Weinsteins will have plenty of ammunition next time a thought provoking foreign film seems too complicated for American audiences.
Trackback from your site.