Saturday, November 27, 2010

하녀Hanyeo (The Housemaid)

Film is a remake of a classic Korean movie with the same name by Ki-young Kim, which I haven’t seen and decided not to watch before watching the new film mainly because Sang-soo Im was in competition at 2010 Cannes and wanted to have a fresh approach to story. With this said I have to admit that film is visually stunning with extraordinary sets, location, compositions and a truly amazing style while story is maybe not much compelling but will keep your attention thanks to actors’ great performances and its good looks.

According to Sang-soo film is an exploration of the life and lifestyle of upper classes in 2010 Korea, which tend to live very privileged and isolated lives. If you consider only what Sang-soo says then film story is an outstanding exploration that goes from distant and proper behavior to the most cruel behavior you can imagine where money makes all kind of unpleasant situations go away. I liked this story.

But what you will more clearly see is the story of Eun-yi a good woman that is hired as Nami’s nanny while Mami’s mother, Hae Ra, is pregnant with twins. Hae Ra is not satisfying the sexual needs of her extremely wealthy husband, Hoon; so Hoon looks for sexual satisfaction with Eun-yi. Byeong-sik (aka Miss Cho), the housekeeper, sees Hoon and Eun-yi having sex and soon enough notices Eun-yi changing her habits and deduces that she’s pregnant. Miss Cho reports all to Hae Ra’s mother and from this point on you will watch a dark narrative about power, more exactly women power as story develops with only female characters. This story was not much compelling but performances by actors keep your attention; still I was most impressed by Yeo-Jong Yun performance as Miss Cho and little Seo-Hyon Ahn as Nami, even if both were supporting characters their moments on screen were truly remarkable.

As a film is almost perfect with spectacular locations, excellent camera with many beautiful compositions, wonderful use of black and white in sets -especially when is a full-color movie- great editing and many more superlatives for other tech specs, which superbly is essential part of the wealth recreation.

Film is labeled in some sites as an erotic thriller maybe due to some (not-so-explicit) sex scenes that honestly are no big deal if you enjoy European cinema, so I suggest you don’t get fooled by marketing that exploits the sex scenes as fellatio scenes magnificently show Hoon’s absolute power.

As MUBI has Ki-young Kim movie I will watch it as I’m curious to see the original story that according to what I read it is very different to this story as Sang-soo Im maybe kept the story essence but changed everything else.

Another 2010 Cannes movie that I like even when Eun-yi story was less interesting than the wealth exploration story and definitively I do recommend it to those that enjoy visually stunning movies with good actors’ performances.


Watch trailer @MOC

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