The Housemaid, a deliriously stylish, searingly erotic thriller from Korean director Im Sang-soo, will begin screening February 18, 2011at the Landmark’s Lagoon Cinema, 1320 Lagoon Avenue, Minneapolis. It is the long anticipated remake of late director Kim Ki-young’s classic 1960 original.
The film is said to have a Hitchcock style suspense that keeps the audience on the edge of their seat with awaited anticipation of what they feel must be going to happen.
Director Im Sang-soo describes Eun-yi as a resident maid who is dedicated to her duties as a maid. She is quite the professional but also naïve and innocent, and always with a smile on her face.
Jeon Do-youn, who recently received the Best Actress Award at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival for her role in Secret Sunshine, portrays Eun-yi, an innocent young woman hired as an upper class family as a housemaid. She is tasked to take care of the family’s young daughter, Nami, portrayed by Ahn Seo-hyeon, and her pregnant mother, Hae-ra, played by Seo Woo, a rising star of Korean cinema.
Jeon Do-youn said Eun-yi is a challenging role of an innocent housemaid who cannot hide her natural born as an excessively innocent young woman, provided with the perfect opportunity. She said this complex character is not easily defined, as an innocent yet provocative, with an innocence that proves to be the zenith in providing tension and suspense.
“Within one role, I had to live as four different characters: a housemaid, a woman, a mother, and a human being,” said Jeon. “At some point, I realized I had already become Eun-yi.”
The two-story mansion is a piece of art itself and the biggest set ever used for a Korean film. It was designed so that even the empty space can be a great background to the film. The production gave extra attention to the combination of curves, straight lines, color, and partitions and also brought in works of art that can be seen at real art galleries.
Lee Jung-Jae portrays Hoon, an elite master of the house who will just as easily take or throw away anything he wants. He was raised with everything he ever wanted in his position among the top 1 percent elite in the country.
Hoon takes advantage of his social position by slipping into the new housemaid’s bed. His visits become more frequent and never being denied by anyone or anything, does not feel any guilt in his relationship with the housemaid and is unashamed in his behavior before his wife.
Youn Yuh-Jung portrays Byung-sik, materialistic old maid about to retire. She has been managing everything in the owner’s house for years and is tired of it all. Yet, when she becomes aware of Eun-yi’s forbidden relationship she tries to maneuver for her own gains and reports the affair to his Mi-hee.
Seo Woo describes Hae-ra as a social climber who married at a young age, driven by a desire for wealth and power, and has since become an arrogant lady of the house. She ignores the truth of her unfaithful husband for fear she will lose everything. Yet, her husband’s inability to be the slightest bit discrete drives her to the breaking point.
When Eun-yi becomes pregnant by Hoon she wants to keep the baby but Mi-hee forced her to have an abortion despite her pleas and fragile mental condition. A deeply wounded Eun-yi decides to take the matter into her own hands.
Producer Jason Chae, President of Mirovision Inc., said the original film itself made a major impact on Korean society at the time, and it has remained Korea’s most acclaimed classic all over the world, so remaking this film has always been the dream of all Korean filmmakers.
“For me, this film means so much to me personally that it feels more like family heritage,” he said. “As a fledgling journalist, I first met Director Kim Ki-young 13 years ago at the Pusan Int’l Film Festival where his works were being rediscovered by the Korean audience.
“I was so lucky to be appointed as his chaperon for the forthcoming Berlin Film Festival and his European tour with a hope of joining his next film. However, four days before his Berlin retrospective, I was struck by the tragic news of his death. I believe that was the point at which my motivation began.”