Thursday, May 5, 2016

Park Chan-Wook's 'The Handmaiden' Trailer Is Discordant And Unsettling In The Best Possible Way

Admittedly, every time it rolls around I wish I had the time, money, and cache to hit up the Cannes Film Festival. Watching a bunch of movies on the French Riviera in the springtime doesn’t sound like a bad way to spend a couple of weeks. Even last year, Mad Max: Fury Road exploded onto the world there, and countless important movies have debuted there over the years. It’s the most prestigious fest in the world for a reason.

This year, however, there are two specific reasons I’m envious of everyone on the Croisette. First, the latest from Na Hong-jin (The Yellow Sea), The Wailing (also called Goksung), is making its premiere. Seriously, you should all be as excited about this as I am. Second, Na’s fellow South Korean hit machine, Park Chan-wook, is also unveiling his latest, The Handmaiden. The latter of these two just released a new trailer, and if I wasn’t already foaming like a mad dog, this pushed me into full-blown rabies territory.

Discordant, unsettling, and absorbing, not to mention visually stunning, this trailer for The Handmaiden is straight up hypnotic. While the previous promos we’ve seen have been atmospheric and eerie, this one takes it to a whole other level and may just tear your brain apart. And I love it.

Just in case you forgot that Park Chan-wook has kicked out his fair share of jams over the years, this trailer also reminds you that he’s responsible for the likes of Oldboy, Thirst, and his English-language debut, Stoker, which is horribly underrated (it was easily my favorite film of 2013).

For The Handmaiden, Park heads back to his home country. While this looks very much in his wheelhouse, it’s also a drastic departure for the auteur. Based on Sarah Waters’ novel Fingersmith, the film stars Ha Jung-woo (The Chaser) and Kim Min-hee (No Tears for the Dead), and tells the story of a con artist who places a maid as a spy in the home of a wealthy heiress in Korea during the Japanese occupation of the country in the 1930s.

The Handmaiden makes its bow at Cannes on May 14, if you’re lucky enough to be there. For the rest of us, however, we hopefully won’t have to wait too long as Amazon owns rights for North America and it’s been picked up by more than 100 distributors world wide.

And if you just can’t get enough, here are two more recent promos to check out. Good luck getting The Handmaiden out of your head now.

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