‘The Housemaid’ is based on a Korean classic movie from the 60s which I have not seen, but which is referred to by many critics and viewers knowledgeable in Korean cinema. With no term of comparison I have the (maybe) advantage of judging the film by itself. As with many other Korean films it takes a well-known genre (the rich home family drama and the relation to the servants in the house) into directions unexpected for viewers accustomed to the European or American cinema styles.

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1314652/

Eun-yi is a young woman from a poor background who takes a job into a house of people so rich that no pleasure seems to be refused to them from birth. Besides housemaid she is the caretaker for the only child of the rich couple, for the time being – as the lady of the house is expecting to give birth to twins sometimes soon. She soon will find herself as the alternate object of desire for the master of the house, and when she becomes pregnant she starts being perceived as a threat to the luxurious routine of the family life of the rich. The older servant in the house, the mother-in-law and the cheated wife will thread a plot to eliminate the danger. Her chances of successfully fighting back are minimal.

(video source indiefilmworld)

Director Sang-soo Im had the privilege of building a full house of his dreams to describe the environment the rich live, which contrasts sharply with the few realistic shots in the modern city environment. The visuals he created, sets and colors are excellent and are part of the quality of the film. I personally also enjoyed the acting, with Do-yeon Jeon in the lead role the only character with human feelings and uncertainty I could relate to contrasted to the fantasies of the spoiled and the cool interest manner the other characters around behave. The psychological pressure amplified by the surrounding is well built, and provides the justification for this story which starts with a suicide and ends with another one. The film has also an epilogue which is left open for commentary – I read it as a supplementary touch of emphasis of the social commentary in the story.  The director seems to have learned and integrated some of the lessons taken from great world cinema masters as Kubrick or Bunuel, but his voice is clear and original enough in this film to expect more in the future.