“Obsessed” and Other Movie Posters Deemed Unsuitable For Viewing

There are rumblings of dissatisfaction in the Korean film industry over the standards used for censorship of movie posters.

The movie “Obsessed,” (also known as “Human Addiction“) scheduled to be released next month, revealed a teaser poster on the 19th showing Song Seung Hun and Im Ji Yeon kissing passionately. The memorable scene appropriately expresses the emotions of the two lead characters, who are wrapped up in a dangerous love. However this particular poster could not be distributed as advertising for the movie, as it had failed to satisfy certain censorship criterion. In this case, the romantic expression of the characters on the poster had to be adjusted to a G-rated level and thus the original poster could used as a teaser only. The poster to be used for advertising was switched to one showing Song Seung Hun and Im Ji Yeon poised on the verge of brushing lips.


This past February’s Hollywood blockbuster “Pompeii: The Last Days” ran into the same problem. After its poster received an unfavorable judgment, quick adjustments were made and it underwent re-examination. The original picture was of a man and woman kissing against the backdrop of an exploding volcano, whereas in the second version the pair just gaze towards one another. “Pompeii”’s representatives stated that even though they had already ordered copies of the original version from the production house, once the Korea Media Rating Board judged the poster unsuitable, there was nothing they could do but change it.


Also released in February, the “Venus Talks” poster got into trouble because of the length of actress Moon So Ri’s skirt, which was ultimately increased via computer graphic magic. The poster for “Monster” (released in March) showed a wound on Kim Go Eun’s neck that the regulatory agency deemed “disgusting.” However, members of the public commented that there was little difference between the first and second versions of the poster, as the neck wound in the original was very difficult to see for someone who wasn’t searching for it.

The movie industry has expressed its dissatisfaction with the varying criteria used for censorship. In 2010, the “Late Autumn” poster was deemed suitable for advertising use despite Hyun Bin’s smooching of Chinese actress Tang Wei. Likewise, the 2011 the poster for “One Day” passed censorship even though it featured Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess locking lips. One source from the Korean movie industry opined that the standards for censorship don’t target harm to minors with any specificity, but they do prevent movie posters from expressing films’ essence.The Korea Media Rating Board stated that “A movie poster is seen by all age groups, from pre-schoolers to adult, regardless of the actual rating of the film. Therefore we select posters of a quality that will not cause harm to our youth.”


Editor’s note: A correction was made on the actor for “Late Autumn.”