Moebius – A dark, depraved story… told without a word
Written and directed by: Ki-duk Kim
In recent years, a small group of directors have upped the ante when it comes the to explicit and subversive content that they use to tell their story. Most notably Lars Von Trier (“Antichrist”, “Nymphomaniac”) has gained a lot of attention, both positive and negative, for his use of not only sexual violence but also the actual act of unsimulated sex in his films. He is not alone though, as others (Takashi Miike and Gaspar Noe to name a couple) have also used extreme violence and sex to serve as the symbolic (and sometimes not so symbolic) vehicle that drives their narrative.
“Moebius” is not director Ki-duk Kim’s first journey down this controversial path. Earlier films like “Samaratin Girl” (2004) and “Pieta” (2012) also had similar elements and taboo subject matter. And, while he is no stranger to pushing the envelope, “Moebius” may just end up being his most infamous work.
The story centers on a family that brings a whole new meaning to the term dysfunctional. The son, who doesn’t seem to care about his parents violent altercations, becomes the target of his mother’s fury when she discovers the father has been having an affair. After her failed attempt to relieve her husband of his manhood, she sneaks into their son’s room to visit the mutilation on him instead. After eating the umm… member, she leaves their home and disappears. Meanwhile her philandering husband is left to tend to their castrated son. His efforts to find a transplant do little immediate help as the son is bullied at school.
The story then takes a slight turn as the son begins visiting his father’s mistress. These encounters lead to him discovering a new path to pleasure which is extreme pain at the hands of the woman. Things keep escalating until finally the mother returns home, and everything goes from strange to absolutely psychotic.
What I found the most interesting about “Moebius” was that through the entire film there is not one single spoken word. The only communicative sounds are screams of pain and moans of pleasure. The film is, even without the use of words, very powerful dare I say unforgettable. The imagery and actions of the characters is more than enough to tell Kim’s story. I can’t decide if I see “Moebius” as an extremely dark comedy (as an allegory on the lifestyle of the upper class), a cautionary tale against misogyny, or as some have suggested a twisted version of a buddhist parable about separating one’s self from the ego. Whatever it is, I will not soon get it out of my head and despite how many times I cringed in disgust I am really curious to see what Kim does next.