Kim Ki Duk’s “Moebius” is the extreme story of a rather disfunctional family in which a mother castrates her son and the father tries every way to let his son experience sexuality again. Incest, sex and auto-lesionism are not spared here, in a bloody series of self-inflicted pain and morbid pleasures. A year after his Golden Lion for “Pieta”, Kim Ki Duk brings a film that was supposed to shock the audiences but instead only manages to amuse them with improbable titillations.
A mother first tries to castrate her husband but fails, then succeeds with her teenage son. The boy nearly dies in the event but his life becomes a nightmare, bullied by his classmates and incapable to satisfy his sexual impulses. The father looks for a solution but learns that genital transplant has never been performed successfully; however he comes across a revealing article that explains how orgasmic pleasure can be achieved by rubbing a stone onto one’s skin till raw. In the meantime the son has began an unfulfilled love story with his father’s lover, a beautiful young girl that works in the local shop. One day a group of men who had befriended the son take advantage of the girl and rape her. Subsequently the father shares his discovery with the son, who takes the practice to extremes, helped by the girl of his lustful dreams now looking for her revenge. Shortly news of a successful transplant achieved in an American clinic reach the family. The son undergoes the operation but with unsatisfying results. That’s until the mother intervenes again.
The film, like a piece of silent theatre, does not contain any dialogues but instead relies on the actors’ gestures and facial mimic. Despite this fascinating detail “Moebious” fails on many levels: the supposedly-shocking scenes happen outside a believable context story, making them appear as hilarious. After three quarters of the film in which a sort of beginning, middle and resolution – however unreal – has taken place, the film just derails over a gratuitous sex and violence that adds nothing to the story itself. The feel is that of a raher lazy film for someone like Ki Duk that is one of the habitué of the Festival.
“Moebious” fails to shock or impress, a forgettable film by the talented director in the hope that a better project will cross his path.