Friday, December 3, 2010

Heart and Seoul

Kim Ki-young’s 1960 psycho-sexual thriller, ‘‘The Housemaid (Hanyo).’’
Go out for a landmark film and luscious food — all from Korea — a few blocks apart in Boston


When Martin Scorsese says that a particular movie being overlooked is “one of the great accidents of film history,’’ it’s probably worth tracking down that film for a look. That’s how he described the 1960 film “The Housemaid (Hanyo)’’ from South Korean writer and director Kim Ki-young. The film, which screens on Saturday at Emerson’s newly renovated Paramount Center, is a tense psycho-sexual thriller that stands as a landmark of Korean cinema.

It wasn’t easy getting the film to screen, says Rebecca Meyers, the Paramount’s director of film programs. The World Cinema Foundation undertook a lengthy restoration project to bring it back to life. “A copy found in 1982 had missing reels and another copy found in 1990 was badly damaged. The resulting restoration print brings to light what is considered to be among the three most important Korean films of all time.’’

The film, which was remade this year, kick-started the golden age of Korean cinema. “The original, and its use of fantasy and horror to deal with a rapidly modernizing country, and all the tensions and anxieties that accompanied it, was a box office smash in Korea,’’ Meyers says. And despite the fact that the director’s style has been extremely influential, the work remains largely unappreciated in the States. Maybe not for long.

“The Housemaid,’’ Saturday, 7 p.m.; 9:15 p.m. Bright Family Screening Room at the Paramount Center, 559 Washington St., Boston. 617-824-8000. 


Korean food tends to get overlooked as well when it comes time to choose among the myriad cuisine options available in the city. The Paramount’s proximity to Chinatown offers up post-movie dining at nearby spots like Suishaya and Apollo Grill, but a little further up the road Samurai Boston is your best bet.

Standout menu options include the restaurant’s most popular dish, Kalbi, a Korean barbecue-style grilled short ribs dish. Duk Bok Ki, an appetizer of spicy rice cakes, fish cakes, stir fried onions and scallions, or one of a variety of Korean-style iron pot soups like Kimchee Chigae, a spicy kimchee stew made with pork and vegetables, and the Soon Tubu Chigae, a spicy stew of seafood, tofu, and vegetables, are other can’t-miss selections. Those three, and the house-made kimchee help bring in a healthy stream of Korean customers eager for the authentically homespun experience.

Diners used to more American-style dining might consider taking a note from their eating habits, says Samurai’s Nicole Lewis. “They tend to order more different dishes for the table, then everyone shares, instead of everyone getting their own meal that they eat, which is the Western thing. That way you get more flavors with your meal instead of eating just one dish.’’ In other words, pass your plate please. That looks good. 
Samurai Boston, 827 Boylston St., Boston. 617-236-7672.
Boston Globe

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