Every step he took was recorded. His morning walks through the streets of Thiruvananthapuram became the talk of the town. Kim Ki-duk may not have followed the language but these gestures of love and admiration would have touched the South Korean filmmaker whose 'Moebius' was initially banned in his own country.
But here in Kerala, it was celebrated in a big way, with hundreds of delegates thronging the film festival's various venues on its last week to catch a glimpse of the man and his film.
Observing the scene from a distance was director Jayan Cherian, remembering last December when his movie 'Papilio Buddha' had to bear the brunt of disapproval.
“I am of the opinion that people should watch world cinema. I am glad that these movies were screened at the IFFK. But every artiste should be treated the same way. Kim Ki-duk is a man fighting for censorship certificate in South Korea. It is a good thing we honour him here and screen his film. At the same time, artistes of our own country are questioned on grounds of aesthetic values and morality," says Jayan, days after putting up a Facebook post about the double standards of Malayalis.
The screening of his film was stopped last December at the Co-Bank Towers. “They cited violence and obscenity in the film and said I need a censorship certificate. This year, I got one and submitted the film again but came to know that my film was not even shown to the selection committee. Why is our own voice suppressed?"
Echoing his sentiments is director Arun Kumar Aravind, remembering the hassles he faced for 'Vedivazhipaadu', which he produced.
“'Vedivazhipaadu' was a fun film. Many women who watched the film said they liked it. But some theatres in Kerala had asked women to keep away saying it was not good to see it with family! Watching a two-hour film is not going to make the audience imitate what they see on the screen."
“If smoking or drinking is a problem, then why don't we stop producing alcohol and cigarettes? Leave cinema alone, it is just an art form to make people think or laugh. We have an intelligent audience who knows to watch cinema as cinema."
Making light of the situation is director V.K. Prakash. “I will tell you why this happens. Kim Ki-duk has a nice name -you can play music with it, whereas the name Jayan Cherian doesn't sound nice. That's why," he says with a chuckle.