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Girl of Fireplace Kim Ki-Younger – The Disapproving Swede | Get hold of US

In 2006, I used to be fortunate sufficient to attend a Kim Ki-Younger retrospective at Cinémathèque Francaise. The director might be principally recognized for The Housemaid (Hanyo). Launched in 1960, it’s one of the well-known Korean movies ever made. The story a few music trainer and his spouse, who hires a maid that seems to be a risk to the household’s basis, was an on the spot success.

It additionally spawned two remakes, one in 1971 known as Girl of Fireplace (Hwanyeo) and the second in 1982. I’ll focus on the primary of those remakes. The plot revolves round two younger ladies from the countryside who come to Seoul. One in all them, Myeong-Ja, will get a place as a maid within the Dong-Sik household. As soon as there, issues get heated rapidly, and the story is filled with twists and turns.

“While you post-mortem human nature, black blood will movement out. That’s what we name need.”

This quote from Kim paints an correct image of what his movies seem like. Storytelling isn’t the principle function of his movies. The Housemaid is perhaps based mostly on the Geumchon homicide case, however Kim primarily focuses on the absurdities of the story. This may be even clearer within the remakes that really feel extra like type workouts than the rest. There isn’t any trace of something real looking or naturalistic.

The appearing is, most of the time, excessive. Eun Shim-Lee, who performed the housemaid within the authentic movie, was so convincing because the hated Myung-Sook that she struggled to get different roles sooner or later, however within the remakes, that sort of appearing is typical for all of the characters. The movies had been totally different in different elements as properly. Whereas The Housemaid was in black-and-white, the remakes weren’t, and the usage of color is kind of hanging, significantly in Girl of Fireplace.

Girl of Fireplace

Purple and blue are the predominant colors, and they’re utilized in a means that factors ahead in direction of Argento’s color palette in Inferno (1980). Cinematically the movie is hanging, with digicam actions that draw consideration to themselves. The artifice is at all times on full show. The exaggerated expressions of the actors wouldn’t be misplaced in a Żuławski movie.

The movie begins with the digicam rowing inside a home the place a number of murders have been dedicated. The detective who’s being interviewed by reporters lashes out at them and says that minors commit their crimes due to the unfavorable depiction of society within the media. Then he continues berating the housemaid’s greatest buddy, saying that ladies from the countryside solely come to Seoul to work in bars or as maids and corrupt the households of upper standing.

This is without doubt one of the fundamental themes of the movies: The best way these ladies are seen as intruders (parasites?) who destabilize society, whereas they may, the truth is, be catalysts for change. The household within the first movie lives within the centre of Seoul, however within the remakes, the motion takes half within the outskirts, the place the household additionally runs a rooster farm.

That setting additionally helps immensely with the theme of male vs feminine and if the previous is required in society. The feminine characters in Kim’s movies are normally highly effective, and the theme of the battle of the genders could be much more clear within the 1977 movie Io Island (Iodo). It takes place on an island with a largely feminine inhabitants. They have interaction in primitive rituals the place males are mainly solely wanted for procreation—a extremely really useful movie with an ending that also is kind of stunning.

Woman of Fire

The Girl of Fireplace reveals her actual colors

Within the rooster farm in Girl of Fireplace, the truth that the male birds are disposed of is instantly referred to within the movie. That theme could be taken even additional within the 1982 model. The ladies in Kim’s movies are usually robust and, on reflection, really feel extra like resourceful characters reasonably than the demons they had been seen as on the time. That propelled housewives to shout “Die maid!” when The Housemaid was launched.

For censorship causes, sexual acts are sometimes depicted behind blurred home windows or a door with a glass construction that forestalls a transparent view. The scenes are enhanced by montage, for example, when the blacksmiths are banging at steel. The montage is instrumental all through with its brash colors that typically really feel like pop artwork, specifically in violent scenes or different climactic moments.

The set design could be worthy of a chapter in itself, however I need to point out the significance of the steps within the movies. Aside from its evident cinematographic qualities, it additionally works as an (nearly as apparent) metaphor for sophistication society. It’s a continuing presence within the movie and likewise the situation for a number of of its pivotal moments. If that may make anybody consider Parasite, which may not be so far-fetched. When the movie was screened in Paris, it was launched by Bong Joon-ho, who mentioned this was his favorite of all Kim’s movies.

The Korean Film Archive has made many basic Korean movies obtainable on its YouTube account. Amongst them are the 2 remakes of The Housemaid. They’re each extremely really useful.

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