South Korean director Kim Ki-duk, who won the Golden Lion award at Venice film festival last year, is back in the floating city with a tale of incest and self-mutilation.
"Moebius," a story about a father's infidelity sparking a chain of violent events which lead to his wife dismembering their son, was initially banned in Kim's home country.
The Korean Media Rating Board put its foot down over the sex, nudity and incest and Kim had to cut out the offending passages before they would allow it to screen.
Venice got the uncut version of the flick, which is screening out of competition.
A grotesque exploration of the destructive power of guilt and the modern obsession with sex, "Moebius" lingers compulsively over scenes in which limbs are methodically amputated.
Dialogue is forsaken to intensify the gaze as knives cut through penises.
"My films are an interpretation of the world that I see," the 53-year-old director, whose film "Pieta" stole the top prize last year, told journalists in Venice on Tuesday.
"I start from the concept of sex and develop it in all its detail," he said.
But Kim said the movie "should not be interpreted as a story about incest."
"People ask me to make clean films. But the thing is I cannot stop taking the temperature of society, reflecting what I hear it telling me," he said.
"I cannot do it another way."