Two Weddings and a Funeral: Interview with Kim Jho Kwang-soo
What was the response after your shorts were released to the public then?
There were no problems with Boy Meets Boy (소년, 소년을 만나다), but Just Friends? banned for people under 19. Usually other films containing a high level of explicit sex scenes between heterosexual couples, the Korea Media Rating Board rated 15 (as in banned for under 15 years old). However, they rated Just Friends? a 19 because it is an LGBT film, so I filed a lawsuit and won the first instance at the local court, and a later instance in the Parliament, which ruled the rating for Just Friends? as unfair.
Nevertheless, the Korea Media Rating Board appealed to the supreme court, and the case is still pending in court.
There was an American documentary called This Film Is Not Yet Rated, where they try to discuss who the members of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) were and what were their criteria for rating films, who do you think is behind the Korea Media Rating Board?
The Korea Media Rating Board is not a non-governmental organization like in the United States. It is a government organization. The chairman of the board is supposed to be nominated by the Ministry of Culture. Therefore, the board is able to change depending on the politics of governments.
YAM Magazine editor, Julyssa, really loved both of your shorts, was it a coincidence that Just Friends? came out around the time that South Korea was in discussion about their military ban of homosexual individuals?
How did she know that? I am really surprised and admire her insight about LGBT issues in Korea. Of course, the issue was in consideration, that is why I put the soldiers with military uniform and expressed their love more realistically between two males in the film. I wanted to inform about Article 92’s suppression of homosexuals through my film. Unfortunately, The Constitutional Court ruled the Military Penal Code Article 92 is constitutional.
Compared to Boy Meets Boy and Just Friends?, Love 100ºC (사랑은 100ºC) takes a rather dramatic turn in your short film series, why was that?
Right, compared to the other shorts, Love 100ºC is more dramatic and has a sad ending because it is a story of a more remote past than the others. My shorts are from my past. Just Friends? and Boy Meets Boy were after I recognized and identified myself as a gay man, so they could be bright and showed the positive side.
However, Love 100ºC is a memory from the dreaded time before I realized that I was gay, so the story goes more dramatically and heads to a sad ending. Now I am preparing a feature, and it contains happy and cheerful stories, but I should put bitter and emotional ones. I am thinking making dramatic shorts works for practicing to make a full-length feature.