Im Sang Soo’s The Housemaid (2010) is a remake of Kim Ki-young’s famed 1960 original, considered by many to be the greatest Korean film ever made. Which makes this new film what, exactly…? Asks Critic After Dark Noel Vera.
Am traditionally suspicious of ‘greatest ever’ films, but Kim Ki-young’s black-and-white melodrama is possibly one of the oddest, sexiest, most fun claimant to the title – which makes its argument for the status more persuasive, in my book.
The original Housemaid plays like a breathless sex thriller, a comprehensive catalogue of perversions running at flip-book speed, with the occasional pause to allow a moment of horror to sink in. Kim’s camera wheels about, hurtles towards and away from its actors, constantly reframing the mis-en-scene as the characters struggle to reframe their predicament to their advantage (basically a housemaid hired to help a pregnant wife who, in falling in love with the husband, finds herself pregnant, and in competition for control of the family).
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