Tuesday, September 18, 2012

#15: Korean Interiors: I’m a Cyborg, but That’s OK (2006) and The Housemaid (1960)

Characters in Park Chan-wook’s I’m a Cyborg, but That’s OK and Kim Ki-young’s The Housemaid (Hanyo) are confined to stylized spaces that illustrate states of mind. The comedic color film I’m a Cyborg, but That’s OK has possibilities expand through the characters’ breaks with reality, while those in the melodramatic black-and-white The Housemaid are further trapped by their extreme emotions. Both films have one moment where the reality of the situation intrudes, a critique of over-sentimentalizing mental illness (Cyborg) or acting as a voyeur (Housemaid). Cyborg or Housemaid, the lead female characters’ minds are especially powerful and, especially for the male characters in the films, impenetrable.