Critic’s Choice: If you liked ‘Parasite,’ don’t miss ‘The Housemaid’

Kim Jin-kyu, Lee Eun-shim, 'The Housemaid'
Kim Jin-kyu, left, and Lee Eun-shim in the 1960 film “The Housemaid.”
(Janus Films)

“Parasite,” the endlessly surprising new movie from South Korean director Bong Joon Ho, is a critics’ darling and an art-house smash. It is also a class-conscious thriller with many classic influences, including Joseph Losey’s “The Servant,” Claude Chabrol’s “La Cérémonie” and, perhaps most of all, Kim Ki-young’s ferociously entertaining 1960 drama, “The Housemaid,“ which will screen Sunday in 35-millimeter at Alamo Drafthouse Downtown.

Often regarded as one of the top two or three Korean movies of all time, “The Housemaid” follows a domestic liaison that blooms into a fatal attraction. (No bunnies are boiled, but watch out for rat poison.) Lee Eun-shim gives a startling performance — and forever branded herself as a villain in the eyes of the Korean moviegoing public — as a sexually rapacious young housemaid who has an affair with her employer (Kim Jin-kyu), a composer with a pregnant wife and two kids. Tense, elegant and rich in claustrophobic menace, “The Housemaid” proved endlessly influential and was even remade in 2010, to glossy but inferior effect. As the title character herself might have declared: Accept no substitutes.

'The Housemaid'

When: Oct. 20, 3 p.m.
Where: Alamo Drafthouse Downtown, 700 W. 7th St., Suite U240, Los Angeles