Sunday, May 23, 2010

Han-yeo (The Housemaid)

         Last week, I watched a Korean film, 하녀 > Han-yeo (The Housemaid).
Directed by Im Sang-soo, it is a remake of the 1960 classic.

The Cast:

Jeon Do-yeon as Eun-yi (Housemaid)
Lee Jeong-jae as Hoon (Master)
Yoon Yeo-jeong as Byeong-sik (Senior Housemaid)
Seo-Woo as Hae-ra (Mistress)
Park Ji-yeong as Mi-hee (Haera's mother)
Ahn Seo-hyeon as Na-mi (Hoon & Hae-ra's daughter)

The Trailer:

The Housemaid revolves around a lower class divorcee, Eun-yi who takes a job as a housemaid for a wealthy family. The Hoon's appear to live a perfect life in their perfect home. The master of the house (Hoon) is handsome and successful and his wife (Hae-ra) is young, beautiful and pregnant with twins. The couple have a young daughter (Na-mi) who is cute, but mature for her age. Everything is literally served to the family on a platter. The mistress of the home even has beauty treatments done by the housemaid. Despite their wealth and extravagant mansion, the family appears to be disconnected and cold. This is also reflected in their very spacious living space.

Hoon begins making frequent visits to Eun-yi's bed at night and she doesn't stop him. When Byeong-sik, the senior housemaid gets to know of the affair, she immediately informs Mi-hee (Hae-ra's mother) about it.

Eun-yi falls pregnant and wants to keep the baby. When Hae-ra and her mother discover this, they force her to have an abortion. Eun-yi's mental condition takes a turn for the worst and the film ends quite disturbingly. In fact, I closed my eyes in the second last scene and didn't watch it. Of course, I won't give the ending away, but I'm still trying to decide if it was predictable or a surprise.

The opening and closing scenes of the film are confusing and one keeps thinking what it has to do with the film's content. Very soon, it all begins to make sense. Korean films rely a lot on symbolism and master them like artwork. The story deals with a number of themes like class and status, sexuality and power, adultery and vulnerability, revenge, innocence, family structure and hierarchy.

While Hoon takes advantage of his masculinity and power by drawing Eun-yi into his sexual desires, the tables turn when his wife, Hae-ra and her mother, Mi-hee get involved. The film take a U-turn and shows the power of a woman's wrath and revenge.

The Housemaid
is said to be a triumph for the director and is hailed as one of the best thrillers of the Korean film industry in recent years.

The film apparently attracted over one million viewers in the first six days of its release and is a strong contender at the Cannes International Film Festival.

Images from Google Images


Nicki said...

Okay, will look out for it. Thanks for writing a review :)

Sheetal said...


Let me know what you think if you see it :)