Wednesday, August 05, 2009

The Housemaid Cleans Up

Happy day today -- I just bought the great new DVD of Kim Ki-young's THE HOUSEMAID.

THE HOUSEMAID (1960), of course, has long been recognized as one of the great films in Korean history. It is a crazy, claustrophobic tale of a family being terrorized by their housemaid. But describing the plot hardly begins to describe just how fun this movie is.

If you have seen THE HOUSEMAID before at one of its retrospective screenings, you know that it really needed some cleaning up. Much of the movie was faded, scratched, or had degraded in any number of ways.

The quality of the image is pristine mostly pristine (save for two reels, which were more damaged and are still rather poor), the sound is clear. It is great to see a Korean film getting such special treatment. If only the English subtitles were prepared as carefully as the rest of the film (they are okay, but the mistakes are careless and unnecessary). The essays in the booklet that accompanies the DVD are not very interesting or helpful... But I fear I am nitpicking. This DVD is a great restoration.

If you want to buy THE HOUSEMAID on DVD, you can get it at Kyobo Books or any number of online bookstores (like this one). It is totally worth it. Or, if you cannot find the DVD, you can always watch it online for free.


Will said...

It really is a great DVD. I love KOFA's stylish packaging of their DVDs and that everything about it encourages the interest of foreign viewers (the discs are region-free, the booklets are translated in their entirety, and best of all the commentary tracks have subtitles).

But yeah, with this and the Kim Ki-young box set, I find it puzzling and disappointing that despite such careful attention to most details there are glaring errors in the subtitle translation.

I hope they put out more of Kim's movies in the future; I particularly would like to see "Woman Chasing a Killer Butterfly"!

matt said...

Awesome. This'll be one of my first purchases once I get back.

kushibo said...

Korean media companies, it would seem, have every reason to make things region-free. The whole region coding is a ploy mostly by American media companies to protect profits under the guise of preventing piracy.

As a Mac user who occasionally gets a "you have three more times to change region" message, I loathe this system, though I understand why Apple has to go along with it.