Western's Cinema East Film Series presents 'The Housemaid' May 9

The next film in the Cinema East series is Kim Ki-young’s feature The Housemaid, which screens on Tuesday, May 9, at 6 p.m. at the Pickford Film Center, 1318 Bay St., in downtown Bellingham.

Western's Cinema East Film Series presents 'The Housemaid' May 9 at 6 p.m. at The Pickford.

The Housemaid has been described as both a horror film and a melodrama, and it has also screened at film noir festivals. The film makes use of a common noir character type, the femme fatale, and it also uses the recurrence of plot devices to build suspense and tension. From the description on the Pickford’s website: “Grim and taut yet perched on the border of the absurd, Kim’s film is an engrossing tale of class warfare and familial disintegration that has been hugely influential on the new generation of South Korean filmmakers.”

Originally released in 1960, the film was rediscovered in the 1990s and later restored in 2008. The version that will screen at the Pickford was restored through a joint effort by the Korean Film Archive (KFA) and Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project. Twenty minutes of the film reel negatives were missing, and the KFA found a release print with hand-lettered English subtitles which sometimes covered half of the screen and had to be digitally removed. While there is some damage to the film, having access to the restored version of The Housemaid provides valuable knowledge about both South Korean cinema and the history of global film culture.

Co-sponsored by Western Libraries and Pickford Film Center, each film in the Cinema East series begins with an introduction from select speakers including local professors, artists, and educators. The Housemaid will be introduced by Western Washington University Associate Professor of Political Science Kristen Parris, who teaches Chinese Politics, East Asian Politics, and other courses in comparative politics.   

For more information about the Cinema East series, please see the PFC website, or contact Jeff Purdue at: purduej@wwu.edu, (360)-650-7750. All PFC theaters are ADA accessible with wheelchair seating, and closed captioning and assistive listening devices are available at the box office. For questions about or to request disability accommodation, please contact Meghan Schilling, meghan@pickfordfilmcenter.org.