20 Amazing South Korean Movies You Must See Before You Die

20. The Housemaid

Train To Busan
Sidus FNH

A brief relaxation of the strict Korean film censorship laws at the turn of the 1960s produced a short flourishing of innovative Korean film that would later prove hugely influential on the current generation of filmmakers. 1960's The Housemaid, cited by Bong Joon-ho as a personal inspiration, is perhaps the best of these.

Directed by Kim Ki-young, whose often provocative and horrific themes earned him the nickname "Mister Monster", The Housemaid is an expressionistic domestic thriller centered around the titular predatory femme fatale entering the home of a happily married couple.

Shot in stark black and white, The Housemaid is nevertheless lurid, striking and alternately seductive and surreal.

The Housemaid, and Kim's films in general, did not make much of an impact in the West until after his work was championed by the new wave of Korean filmmakers in the 1990s, at which point it became recognised as a classic worthy of comparison with Kim's European contemporary Luis Buñuel.

It was remade in 2010 by Im Sang-soo and the remake is serviceable, but the original is still the one to see.


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