The Housemaid by Im Sang-soo in Competition

Im Sang soo

For his first feature film in Competition, South Korean director Im Sang-soo will present The Housemaid, a remake of the film Hanyo, presented in Cannes Classics in 2008. The forty-sixth Korean film shown on the screens of the Festival since it was inaugurated in 1946, The Housemaid will be screened today at the Grand Théâtre Lumière, at 11:45 am and 10:30 pm.

Among the nineteen films in Competition, two are from South Korea: Poetry, by Lee Changdong, which will be screened tomorrow, and The Housemaid. The story is about the extra-marital relationship a rich man has with his housemaid. Played by Jeon Do-yeon, who won the best actress prize in Cannes in 2007, this mysterious housekeeper will radically change life in this house. According to Im Sang-soo, the film is based on suspense that keeps you on the edge: “Four people go into a room to play poker. Suddenly, a bomb explodes and none of the people get out. In this kind of configuration, the people are simply surprised.”

For his sixth film, Im Sang-soo has created an erotic thriller and once again explores the themes of sexuality and mores. These themes have often been dealt with by Korean films in the 1950s. At that time, no South Korean film had been shown in Cannes. We had to wait for Lee Doo-Yong and Mou Le Ya Moul Le Ya, selected for Un Certain Regard in 1984, to see the country make its entry into the Festival. This discreet entry was followed by a second feature film also selected for Un Certain Regard in 1989, Why has Bodhi-dharma left for the East?, by Yong-Kyun Bae.

Since 1997, the country has presented on average three films a year in the different selections of the Festival. Five have won awards, including Oldboy which won the Grand Prix for Chan-Wook Park in 2004, and Thirst, by the same director, awarded the Jury Prize in 2009.