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Cannes 2010: Has class consciousness become the festival through-line?

May 14, 2010 | 10:41 am

 Class consciousness has certainly stormed the Croisette this season.

Housemaid_7 First there was "Robin Hood," or "Robin du Bois," as it's known here, with Russell Crowe playing the mythic figure as a freedom fighter bent to take down King John, who taxes his people indiscriminately to pay for foolish foreign adventures. Then there's Oliver Stone's "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps," in which the baddies are ethically challenged Wall Street billionaires. Now comes "The Housemaid," a South Korean twist on the same theme, about a young, naive maid who's seduced by her Korean master, a wine-swilling, Beethoven-playing Korean Master of the Universe. 

A piece of lurid fun, "The Housemaid" is actually a remake of a famous 1960 Korean film that stormed that nation the year it premiered. The 2010 edition has a certain kitschy flair, with some exceptionally tony villainess — i.e. the master's doll-like wife and her manipulative mother who have a positively lethal hissy fit when they discover their maid is pregnant. 

Hollywood films tend to finesse class differences to the point of erasure. For instance, in "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps," the hero is Shia LaBeouf, who's character ostensibly grew up poor. Yet once the movie actually begins, he's a loaded young trader who loves fast motorcycles. By contrast, "The Housemaid" presents a vision of feudal-like servitude amid modern-day Korean oligarchs, a condition that ultimately enrages those on the lower end of the social spectrum. Director Im Sang-Soo is clearly a devotee of Hitchcock, so the anti-elitist furor goes down with spooky, spine-tingling panache.

— Rachel Abramowitz

Comments () | Archives (3)

The comments to this entry are closed.

So...the filthy, morally corrupt and disgustingly rich and privileged go to Cannes and marinate themselves in the workers' struggles.

Then go home, spit on the values of the workers and stick them for twenty bucks a ticket and ten bucks for a coke and some Jordan Almonds.

To the barricades...yeah...that's the ticket!

Will there be enlightened press releases or sound bites to follow?

Thanks for the laugh.

"whose character," not "who's character." seriously?

It's "Robin des Bois" not "Robin du Bois"


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