Friday 31 July 2009

World Cinema Foundation and The Auteurs website

I found a great new website last week - The Auteurs. I found it from a link via Shooting Pictures. Once you sign up to The Auteurs you have access to lots of films, some free, and some available for a small charge. They also have interesting and lively discussion forums, online film festivals, and notebook function where you can list all the films you'd like to see and rate the ones you've watched.

They currently have an online film festival dedicated to the World Cinema Foundation (WCF). The WCF is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and restoring neglected films from around the world – in particular, those countries lacking the financial and technical ability to do so. It was established by Martin Scorsese and it's goal is "to defend the body and spirit of cinema in the belief that preserving works of the past can encourage future generations to treat film as a universal form of expression." So, something well worth supporting then! There are currently four films available to watch online, via The Auteurs, that have all been preserved and restored with the help of the WCF. So far I've only had the chance to watch one of them but on the strength of it I will be making sure I watch the others.

The Housemaid, directed by Ki Young Kim (1960) is a tense, claustrophobic film set mainly in the confines of the family home. The story concerns a piano teacher who, when his wife is away visiting family, sleeps with their housemaid. The film starts with a young female worker in the factory professing her love for him, something which is forbidden and which resulted in her temporarily losing her job. From this point on events just seem to spiral out of his control. The housemaid whom he takes on to help out his pregnant wife has some kind of personality disorder and after seducing him she gradually takes over the household. None of the characters are portrayed as being innocent and all are seen as out to get what they want without thought to the consequences to others. I love the melodramatic style and the black comedy throughout the film thought the ending just forces the morality aspect a bit too much for my liking.

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