Nov 17, 2010

Hanyo - The Housemaid, 2010

Hanyo - The housemaid, 2010
Director: Sang Soo Im
Cast:Yeon Do-yeon, Lee Jung-jae, Seo Woo

Hanyo in short:
Eun-yi, a middle-aged divorcee, is hired as an upper class family housemaid. But soon enough, master of the house Hoon takes advantage of his social position by slipping into her sheets. Hoon's visits become frequent and Byung-sik, an old housemaid, reports the affair to Hae-ra's mother, Mi-hee, who plots to give Hae-ra the control over her husband. Soon Eun-yi miraculously becomes pregnant and wants to keep the baby. This is discovered by the family and she's forced to have an abortion by Mi-hee despite Eun-yi's plea to let her keep the baby and leave the house. Mi-hee's plot backfires when Hoon scrutinizes her for terminating his child, even if that child is conceived illegitimately. Her forced abortion turns Eun-yi's mental condition for the worst and she decides to take the matter into her own hands.

Stage: Movie theatre Vič, official stage of LIFE, movie festival in Ljubljana

Preps: korean erotic thriller? Sounds exciting. I don't even have to read the plot to like the idea of seeing this. Even though at late hour, I anxiously wait for the show to begin.

The movie strikes with a suicide of a young girl and floats towards its mid with a genuine and light story about a new nanny, joining a household to watch over a small girl and two not yet born kids. The family life as it is shown here, suits normally to the higher class, nevertheless, for an european, it doesn't say a lot what it stands for. To a Slovene, this perspective is really rich and filled with things you desired of your whole life. To the rich class observer, it might seem pretty normal. I would bet that from korean perspective it's a vivid show of differencies between low and high class and tough road an employee such as this nanny, needs to walk on, to get situated.

The side story about moral dilemmas - whether to reject your boss or to make your desire for him visual and obvious; how bad can it get? In sense, is it OK, if noone sees this and thus doesn't hurt? The movie shows rage and anger upon betrayal, but is pointed obviously to the weaker link (or dare I say, poorer link, not weaker - as the husband turns out weak in the end, and not the housemaid). All involved in these scenes are hurt in the end; however the reasons for being hurt are really different. The jealousy of the beautiful wife. The sadness over the forced abortion. Betrayal of her own kind (the older housemaid). Escaping the responsibility (husband) and ending up in pretending everything is ok, settling everything with money. The price is high, having to pretend all your life. In my opinion, not really worth it, because the soul will remain empty, just the shell will be beautiful.

The movie exposes a lot of questions, more or less all of them are not answered and left to the interpretation or sane mind of the viewer. Is it OK or acceptable, to cheat? Or to submit to your boss's wishes, no matter what they are? How to accept or abort your own child.. do you need to say the truth to the land lady even though it doesn't bring you any benefits besides money?

I adore the idea of walking around in your house with high heals. I do it occassionally and feel really good. And being neat and well dressed in your home, taking care of your body.. the misfortune is that present time often doesn't allow us to do so. The movie shows the usual upper class behaviour and consequences that can derive from this. Of course many of us would have something like this. But also most of us would get bored in one month tops.

Revenge after betrayal is the major impact of this movie. Being punished and not being sure you deserve it. Afterwards, fighting for your soul and being able to look yourself in the mirror - a noble idea, but a very limited edition of people, being able to do so.

My personal rating: 8,5 (the extreme message, given in the movie, makes it up for the really messy ending. If the ending was at least slightly different, the rating would be going towards sky. A good entertainment + a chance to think a bit differently about everyday situations)

Hanyo on IMDB

Hanyo Wiki page

Korean official website

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