Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Housemaid

Last year we had a Chilean view of the master servant relationship. This year we have the South Korean view. This Korean view centres on exploitation of servants and the dangers posed to powerless servants by malicious employers. The story is about a young maid hired by the very rich Hoon family. The Hoon household consists of the piano playing Mr Hoon, the very pregnant Mrs Hoon, their little daughter and long time servant Mrs Cho. When things go wrong the extremely vicious mother in law joins the family.

Like The Maid, The Housemaid is about a world that will seem odd to most Kiwis, but whereas the Chilean film is about a middle class family we can identify with, the Korean film is about a family that is too rich to identify with, and who's casual arrogance is jaw dropping.

The film builds up from a chaotic, almost plotless beginning, focusing itself through the series of event that lead to the climax. Technically the film is very stylish with arty shots of the Hoon's house and lifestyle, and clever touches of humour. But I think it largely misses in engaging a Kiwi audience (though it may play better at home), and it finishes with a confusing scene that seems both unnecessary and out of place with the rest of the film.

Ian's rating 3/5
Anne's rating 2.5/5

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