Kim Ki-young directs Lee Eun-shim, Ju Jeung-nyeo and Kim Jin-kyu in this South Korean erotic drama where a family is put to the test when a co-worker and a live-in maid both plot to steal the feckless music teacher husband.
An attack on the conformist family / capitalist / gender values of Korean life, this works best as a corkscrew thriller. Your sympathies shift about a fair bit as the tables turn and turn. Two fumbles stop it from hitting classic status. 1 – Like Psycho, this really pushes at the restriction of what genre cinema could and couldn’t do in the early Sixties, but it now feels too coy for something so constantly horny. 2 – The weird little trick ending is unnecessary and also a product of its time. Bong Joon-ho has said The Housemaid was one of the inspirations for his 2019 Academy Award-winning film Parasite. That scans.
Perfect Double Bill: The Servant (1963)
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