With The Handmaiden, Park Chan-wook transplants Sarah Waters’ Victorian England-set bestseller Fingersmith to Japanese-occupied Korea in the 1930s. The result is a historically charged drama, an erotic thriller, and, above all, a magnificent romance. Under Park’s sophisticated direction, Waters’ tale, about a pickpocket-turned-servant and the heiress she conspires to swindle, provides the basis for something beautiful and brash. Park plays with taboos, genres, and styles to create not only a provocative film – structurally similar to Rashomon, as daring as Last Tango in Paris was in its day – but also a sumptuous feast for the eyes, the mind, and the heart.
The Handmaiden was selected as One of the Best Films of 2016 by The New York Times, New York Magazine, Entertainment Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter, Vogue, L.A. Weekly, Village Voice, Forbes, The Boston Globe and Esquire, and The Miami Herald.