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Remake of `Housemaid` Not Just About Sex

Posted May. 04, 2010 10:56,   


Actress Jeon Do-yeon, who plays the heroine in the movie “The Housemaid” directed by Im Sang-soo, had no problem undressing for sexually explicit scenes.

She has no reservations over doing sex and nudity in her movies. Her male counterpart Lee Jung-jae is also not shy over showing off his muscular physique.

The movie is not just about sex, however. If the Cannes Film Festival listed the movie as one of 19 entries for the official competition, the film must have something to offer other than wild sex scenes.

“The Housemaid” is a remake of the 1960 film with the same title directed by Kim Ki-young, who was nicknamed “Monster” by the Korean cinema industry.

The review of Kim`s movie in The Dong-A Ilbo`s edition of Nov. 9, 1960, said, “Based on the real story of a housemaid who killed an infant, the movie has its flaws as fiction with a raw description of mentality and characters that undermine reality. Nevertheless, the director is truly to be lauded for his attempt to get closer to the mentality of people without thinking too much about delivering the story itself.”

The original depicts a middle-class family breaking apart when the man has an affair with the housemaid. It had extreme scenes where the maid kills his son out of jealousy and attempts to commit suicide together with rat poison. It ends abruptly with the message “Don’t cheat on your wife,” then the man wakes up and realizes his experience was just a dream.

In Im`s remake 50 years later, things seem more civilized but the director describes what lies behind their perfect manners; intensifying tension among different levels of the modern social hierarchy. They exchange irrational remarks as if they make sense in a densely furnished space allowing room for nothing.

“Mother-in-law, it’s not just your daughter who can give birth to my child.” (Hoon)

“I was waiting for you completely naked.” (Eun-yi)

The remake is far more sexually explicit than the original, but sex is not the focus of the movie. Im`s edition shows more vulgarity than the original.

One of the most memorable lines is uttered by a senior housemaid (played by Yoon Yeo-jung). She tells Eun-yi, “The world is sickening, dirty, revolting and cheap, or SDRC for short.”

The headline of the Dong-A review of the original 50 years ago was “Far From Complete, but a Notable Experiment.” Kim’s quirky protégé Im meticulously completed the movie where Kim left off with a refined touch.