Spotlight on World Cinema: Korea: The Housemaid

If we can only get four films with the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston's Spotlight on World Cinema: Korea, we're glad they're these four.

Korean film directors have helped to reinvigorate the horror genre, moving it from slice-and-dice slasher flicks to terrifying stories that are heavy on characters and plot, but light on blood. Director Im Sang-soo’s The Housemaid is the best kind of horror story, one that’s disguised as something else. In this case, it seems to be a family drama. Jeon Do-yeon is Eun-yi, a young woman who begins a job as a maid for a very wealthy family. The husband floats in and out of the house, a literal center of the universe with a host of women circling around him. His wife (Seo Woo) is very, very pregnant with twins. His mother-in-law (Park Ji-young), polished and vicious, is much more concerned with status than her daughter’s happiness, while his daughter is a passive observer of the family’s treachery. And the long-time family maid, Youn Yuh-jung, is outwardly loyal to her employers but inwardly seething with rage at their callus abuse. When the husband begins a casual affair with housemaid Eun-yi, it sets in motion a series of events that have deadly, and truly shocking, results.

Also showing are Hong Sang-soo's complex narrative The Day He Arrives, Kim Jong-ok chatgi's romantic comedy Finding Mr. Destiny and Lee Chang-dong's drama Secret Sunshine. (Jeon Do-yeon, who appears in The Housemaid, took home the Best Actress award at Cannes for her performance in Sunshine.)

The Housemaid screens at 7 p.m. followed by The Day He Arrives at 9:15 p.m. on Friday. Finding Mr. Destiny is at 7 p.m. on Saturday and Secret Sunshineis at 5 p.m. on Sunday. 1001 Bissonnet. For information, call 713-639-7515 or visit www.mfah.org/films. $6 to $7.
Fri., Nov. 4, 7 p.m., 2011

 
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