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CaveGirl

The Housemaid...holy rat poison!

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I am so pleased I stayed up till 2:00am on Sunday nite to see Kim Ki-Young's "The Housemaid". What an incredible movie and one of the best I've seen in many years. Sure wish I'd known it's been around since 1960.

Some spoilers ahead...

 

Now I am always hoping to find a film which will scare me, and it truly did besides being as intense a psychological study as Joseph Losey's "The Servant". I am unscareable and though I appreciate the talent in films like "The Exorcist" which can frighten others, for me it always falls flat as I must have been born repeating the advertising line from "Last House on the Left" stating "Remember...it is only a movie, it is only a movie." So the fact that TH was both fascinating as a character study and scary enough to make one bejeeberless was impressive.

 

I actually jumped in my seat at one point in "The Housemaid" and will never look at packages of rat poison the same or even filled glasses of water or some simple rice in a bowl. This psychological masterpiece can cause heart palpitations and I can't even imagine it could be improved in a remake. I kept thinking that the "housemaid" and her unfathomable facial expressions were reminiscent of the maid to Francisco Rabal in Bunuel's "Viridiana" and it was fun to hear the post film comments saying Ki-Young was sometimes compared to Luis.

 

All in all, I'm so glad I stayed up. Sure I could have watched it at a different time, but there's something right about watching a film like that in total darkness and my only complaint regarded the end, but I won't quibble since I also dig films like "The Woman in the Window". Anyone else watch?

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I'm sorry to say, CaveGirl, that I have not seen The Housemaid, so am in no position to discuss it with you here.

However, I'd like to thank you for bringing it to our (by "our" I mean everyone who reads these threads, I was not using the "royal we") attention.

I looked it up, and it sounds pretty darn good.

 

Maybe one day my prince will come. I mean, maybe one day TCM will show it again - in the day !

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Quite a riveting film, wasn't it? Pretty Hitchcockian (never sure which way it was headed) & excellent performances by everyone

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I'm sorry to say, CaveGirl, that I have not seen The Housemaid, so am in no position to discuss it with you here.

However, I'd like to thank you for bringing it to our (by "our" I mean everyone who reads these threads, I was not using the "royal we") attention.

I looked it up, and it sounds pretty darn good.

 

Maybe one day my prince will come. I mean, maybe one day TCM will show it again - in the day !

sorry you missed the posts in TCM Imports & Premieres threads :(

 

--"late Sun., 7-6 on TCM Imports

 

2:00 am ET
111 min
crime

Drama ensues when a married music teacher hires a young maid to take care of the house.

DirKim Ki-Young CastLee Eun-Sim , Kim Jin-Kyu , Ju Jeung-Ryu .

"...this film jolted audiences with its harrowing, incredibly lurid depiction of a household torn apart when a couple (a music teacher and seamstress) bring in a new housemaid whose pathology has deadly, permanent consequences"

 

Article: http://www.tcm.com/t...e/articles.html

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Sorry that I already added to this conversation in the July Imports thread. Oh well, no point in repeating myself. Someday I'll post in the right place.

 

Spoilers Ahead

It was a great movie. I was mesmerized by these characters and their odd behavior, especially (but not limited to) the housemaid herself. I couldn't believe how long they let that woman stay in their house. It was like she was holding them hostage with their own order of values. Who cares if your son gets murdered, don't let anyone know you cheated on your wife! That's one thing that confused me: after his piano student confessed her love for him why did he take it out on the maid? From that point on he kind of dug his own grave, but there was odd and questionable behavior throughout the whole film.

 

One thing I will repeat, that image of her clutching his leg as he walked down the stairs sticks with you, sure does. This whole film haunts the mind.

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If you watch “Citizen Kane” enough times, you might notice that the snow globe is first seen in the film sitting on top of Susan’s dresser the night Mr. Kane met her.

 

If you watch it more times, you will realize he tells her that he was on the way to a warehouse to look through some of his childhood mementos. And after a few more viewings, it will dawn on you what his favorite memento was. :)

 

 


 

Dang, I think I posted this in the wrong thread. :)

Edited by FredCDobbs

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If you watch “Citizen Kane” enough times, you might notice that the snow globe is first seen in the film sitting on top of Susan’s dresser the night Mr. Kane met her.

 

If you watch it more times, you will realize he tells her that he was on the way to a warehouse to look through some of his childhood mementos. And after a few more viewings, it will dawn on you what his favorite memento was. :)

 

 


 

Dang, I think I posted this in the wrong thread. :)

You gave yourself away, Fred.

 

It appears that you love this movie. Right?

 

 

musikone

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Like CaveGirl, I seldom scare easily in movies.  The Exorcist mostly had me just rolling my eyes.  I knew about the  shower scene in Psycho so I was prepared for it.  99% of my favorite noirs and mob movies I can write off as "entertainment", and in many ways Freaks was as much a humanistic social commentary as it was a horror movie.  And even with war movies there's the comfort (if you can call it that) that while there can be grisly moments there's seldom anything depicted that I haven't already read about or seen in documentaries.

 

But The Housemaid----Wow.  Just wow.   Or make that WOW.  To call it "Hitchcockian" is to flatter Hitchcock, though I guess Vertigo may be a "better" movie.   But for sheer psychological  horror that builds from nearly the first foreshadowing scene where the girl slips the note in Mr. Kim's piano, to the almost Jonestown-like double suicide at the end*, I can't think of a single other movie that comes close, in spite of all the unanswered questions that Kay notes below.  It doesn't  have just one chilling moment, it's that literally every moment is fraught with the anticipation that some unspeakable horror is about to take place within the next ten seconds.  There's not a single juxtaposing "normal" scene once you get past the first minute or two.  I only hope that next time TCM shows this remarkable work, it gets the PrimeTime spot that it richly deserves.  I'll only add to this by saying that every character was perfectly cast, including the children.

 

*Well, not "the end", exactly, as there's an "ending" that almost seems like a variant of those tagged-on Breen endings during the height of the Production Code era that tried to negate everything that's gone on before.  But even this rather incongruous tag-on is done with such subtle skill and humor that it doesn't even detract 1% from the movie's overall impact, which if nothing else will likely make you want to eat out for the next few weeks, or at least never hire a maid. ;)

 

Oh, and if anyone didn't record it and doesn't want to wait for it to show up again, here it is in its entirety on YouTube.

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I enjoyed it quite a bit, too.  Early on, I was worried this film would be too silly with how they waved the rat poison in the face of the viewer.  However, I was really pulled in hearing that piano.  Sometimes it would be the soundtrack to the film, sometimes it would be someone playing in the other room, and sometimes the housemaid would be at it, banging away. It really added to the atmosphere and cranked up the tension as the movie progressed.

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But The Housemaid----Wow.  Just wow.   Or make that WOW.  To call it "Hitchcockian" is to flatter Hitchcock, though I guess Vertigo may be a "better" movie.   But for sheer psychological  horror that builds from nearly the first foreshadowing scene where the girl slips the note in Mr. Kim's piano, to the almost Jonestown-like double suicide at the end*, I can't think of a single other movie that comes close, in spite of all the unanswered questions that Kay notes below.  It doesn't  have just one chilling moment, it's that literally every moment is fraught with the anticipation that some unspeakable horror is about to take place within the next ten seconds.  There's not a single juxtaposing "normal" scene once you get past the first minute or two.  I only hope that next time TCM shows this remarkable work, it gets the PrimeTime spot that it richly deserves.  I'll only add to this by saying that every character was perfectly cast, including the children.

 

I am in 101% agreement with you. Your review is excellent!

-----

P.S.

 

What these piano students (as well as their dedicated teacher) play so tortuously on the piano can be learned in the space of about one hour. If they would only learn to pound the piano with more than one finger at a time......But then, their Chopin is pronounced CHOPPIN'.

musikone

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I enjoyed it quite a bit, too.  Early on, I was worried this film would be too silly with how they waved the rat poison in the face of the viewer.  However, I was really pulled in hearing that piano.  Sometimes it would be the soundtrack to the film, sometimes it would be someone playing in the other room, and sometimes the housemaid would be at it, banging away. It really added to the atmosphere and cranked up the tension as the movie progressed.

 

I should have mentioned that important element, and you're absolutely right.  At times it got to the point where you wanted to run upstairs, strangle the girl, and feed her to the rats yourself.  ;)

 

Of course since it would've more or less ended the movie right then and there if Mr. Kim had followed my armchair impulse, I'm glad he allowed the plot to lead to a  more unconventional denouement. :)

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