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THE HANDMAIDEN

Director: Park Chan-Wook

144 mins, 2016, South Korea, Digital, Subtitled


This film was released on Friday 14th April 2017 and is no longer screening. 

★★★★ – The Irish Times
★★★★ – The Guardian

Opulent, erotic and replete with exquisite period detail and sly narrative trickery, The Handmaiden is everything we have come to expect from director Chan-wook Park (Oldboy, Thirst, Stoker) who has, with great flair, transposed Fingersmith, Sarah Waters’Victorian England-set bestseller about a pickpocket turned servant and the heiress she conspires to swindle, to Japanese-occupied Korea in the 1930s.

Park utilizes the book’s three-part structure to tell the intricate story from three distinct perspectives, those of Japanese aristocrat Lady Hideko (Kim Min-hee), Korean thief Sook-hee (Kim Tae-ri), and arch con man Fujiwara (Ha Jung-woo). Posing as a Count, Fujiwara has enlisted Sook-hee to play handmaiden to Lady Hideko whom he plans to marry for her inheritance, but Sook-hee is soon far more interested in her vulnerable, repressed mistress than she is in his nefarious schemes.

(Notes by David O’Mahony.)

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