Ahead of the 63rd Festival de Cannes, "The Housemaid" (하녀) premiered yesterday in Seoul : IM Sang-soo's latest movie will air on Korean screens starting May the 13th, and on the Croisette the next day.
This is a remake of a great Korean classic by KIM Ki-young (1960) : a psychological drama, already audacious 50 years ago, where a man cheats on his wife with their maid. Korean media were pretty much excited by a glamorous erotic thriller featuring a clash of actresses : the betrayed spouse (Seo Woo) et her rival (Jeon Do-yeon as the title role). I was expecting different kinds of surprises from this audacious filmmaker.
And yesterday, I wasn't disapointed : IM once more delivered a well crafted movie, a stimulating actors direction, and a powerful social satire. He didn't hesitate to somehow rewrite the original story, inverting the roles and moral standards.
In this version, the femme fatale is not the maid but the mother in law (Park Ji-yeong) who forms with the husband and wife (Lee Jung-jae et Seo Woo) a perfect trio of vain characters as artificial as their luxurious yet Hitchcockian mansion.
The actual pair of actresses lies around the pivotal role of the housekeeper. In "The President's Last Bang", IM Sang-soo carved an amazing Baek Yoon-sik. With "The Housemaid", he's not only pushing Jeon Do-yeon on the way to a second Palme d'Or, but also bringing the best in Yoon Yeo-jeong.
And once more, enjoying the winding road between a classic tragedy and a dark comedy.
blogules 2010 (see also this post in French)
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