The Housemaid

The Housemaid  {Hanyo}
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The Housemaid
South Korea, 2010, 106 Minute Running Time
Topics: Drama, Thriller
Program: World Cinema Now
Language: Korean English Sub-Titles

An unashamedly commercial (and erotic) remake of a classic suspense title, Im Sang-soo’s cracking new film takes place in the mansion of rich businessman Hoon and his heavily pregnant trophy wife Hae-ra, who epitomize the modern consumerist lifestyle. Naïve Eun-yi (Joen Do-youn, Secret Sunshine) is hired by elderly housekeeper Byung-sik to help out, and all goes well until Hoon decides to exercise his droit de seigneur over the young servant, who responds with an unexpected erotic enthusiasm.

Suspecting her new colleague may be pregnant, the stern and duplicitous Byung-sik informs Hae-ra’s harsh and disapproving mother, at which point things start to seriously deteriorate. Employing the most expensive set ever built in Korea for the lavish mansion--all hi-tech appliances and carefully-placed contemporary paintings--the film is well paced with plenty of twists and turns to hold viewer attention as the protagonists go about their deceitful, destructive and deadly business. Fundamentally an enjoyable suspense drama rather than a genre film, The Housemaid is also an acerbic commentary on class divisions and the corrosive effects of double standards on women’s lives in a patriarchal society.

DIRECTOR: Im Sang-soo
Producer: Jason Chae
Editor: Lee Eun-soo
Screenwriter: Im Sang-soo
Cinematographer: Lee Hyung-deok
Music: Kim Hong-jip
Principal Cast: Jeon Do-youn, Lee Jung-jae, Youn Yuh-jung, Seo Woo
Filmography: The Old Garden (2006), The President’s Last Bang (2005), A Good Lawyer’s Wife (2003), Tears (2001), Girls’ Night Out (1998)
Print Source: IFC Films -

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