South Korean hit machine Park Chan-wook is returning to his native land and tongue for his first Korean-language film in six years. Following up his English debut, Stoker (my favorite movie of 2013), the director recently began production on his next feature, the lesbian drama Fingersmith.
Variety reports that Park is adapting Sarah Waters’ Victorian-era-set crime novel, though moving the story around in both place and time, dropping the action in Japan and Korea of the 1930s, a time when Korea was under Japanese occupation.
Here’s a synopsis of the book, and it’s abundantly clear that the new setting should provide for some interesting opportunities:
Sue Trinder is an orphan, left as an infant in the care of Mrs. Sucksby, a "baby farmer," who raised her with unusual tenderness, as if Sue were her own. Mrs. Sucksby’s household, with its fussy babies calmed with doses of gin, also hosts a transient family of petty thieves—fingersmiths—for whom this house in the heart of a mean London slum is home.
One day, the most beloved thief of all arrives—Gentleman, an elegant con man, who carries with him an enticing proposition for Sue: If she wins a position as the maid to Maud Lilly, a naïve gentlewoman, and aids Gentleman in her seduction, then they will all share in Maud’s vast inheritance. Once the inheritance is secured, Maud will be disposed of—passed off as mad, and made to live out the rest of her days in a lunatic asylum.
With dreams of paying back the kindness of her adopted family, Sue agrees to the plan. Once in, however, Sue begins to pity her helpless mark and care for Maud Lilly in unexpected ways...But no one and nothing is as it seems in this Dickensian novel of thrills and reversals.
Fingersmith also reunites the Oldboy director with longtime collaborator, Jeong Seo-gyeong, who teamed up with the filmmaker on the scripts for Sympathy for Lady Vengeance, I’m a Cyborg, But That’s OK, and 2009’s unique take on the vampire story, Thirst.
Fingersmith is currently filming in Nagoya, Japan, but because it’s early in the process, and because it takes a while for international pictures to trickle to American shores, it’ll be a while before we have a chance to lay eyes on this. But that doesn’t mean we’re not going to be keeping our ears to the ground for even the slightest whisper of this, anytime Park makes a movie, it immediately climbs to the top of our must see list.