A family has just moved into a large new house. The father, Dong-sik, teaches music at a women's factory. In order to relieve his wife who is suffering from fatigue, he agrees to welcome a servant recommended by a young worker to whom he gives private piano lessons and who does not leave him indifferent. Possessing an ambiguous behavior, the newcomer has fun spying on conversations or frightening children. When she begins an affair with Dong-sik, the household slowly falls under the servant's sway...
A work revered by many contemporary Korean directors, The Handmaiden is a paroxysmal and cruel melodrama that depicts the vampirization of an ordinary family byan evil young woman. Between Jean Genet and Joseph Losey, Kim Ki-young's filmreveals the neuroses of Korean society: desire for adultery,domestic machismo, self-destructive impulses. Resolutely critical, this modern and dark tale ischarged with an energy of despair which gives it an unequaled virtuosity. The filmmaker bringstogether predatory bodies that spy on each other or are spied on, and produces a film almostentirely shot behind closed doors in a house setting that looks like a glass cage.Masterpiece of a great enraged filmmaker, La Servant is presented in adigitally restored version that finally allows us to discover this classic of Asian cinema!
“For a Westerner, the discovery of a film like The Servant, more than 40 years later, offersa wonderful feeling. Wonderful not only because we discover an extraordinaryimage maker in the person of Kim Ki-young, both author and director, but alsobecause it is an absolutely unpredictable work. Luis Buñuel therefore had aKorean brother! […] What makes La Servante so astonishing lies in the intensity of the passion betweenthe composer and his servant, the visible mechanisms of the love triangle composed byhusband, wife and mistress, and the possibility, at any moment, whether this triangle is disturbed,even explodes, because of the unusual length of a shot, or the pop art useof everyday objects, or even the intrusive presence of the female body…” JOHN-MICHEL FRODO
Warning: this film takes place in a troubled and scary atmosphere that can disturb the youngest spectators.
THE SERVANT (1960 – B&W – 110 mins) new 2K restoration
SUPPLEMENTS * . TWO OR THREE THINGS I KNOW ABOUT KIM KI-YOUNG (2006 – Colors and B&W – 48 mn) a film by Kim Hong-joon Twenty-two Korean filmmakers, including Park Chan-wook (Old Boy), Bong Joon-ho (The Host) and Im Sang-soo (The Housemaid), talk about their meeting with Kim Ki-young and the influence of his cinema on their generation of directors.