Park Chan-wook is one of those directors that, no matter what he does, everything else takes an immediate backseat. After his English-language debut, Stoker (number on on my 2013 top ten list), the South Korean hit machine is back working in his native land with The Handmaiden, which just dropped a sensory-shaking new trailer and eerie new poster.
This trailer for The Handmaiden is nearly identical to an international version that hit back in May. It features the same discordant, propulsive score; the same hypnotic, magnetic editing that practically pulls you forward into the frame; and a visual flair that may add a few fresh wrinkles to your brain.
Though near undistinguishable, there are a few new blips and glimpses, notably a (gasp) bare bottom in the back half. Earlier looks focused on the ominous mood and tension, these, however, kick the game up to a whole new plateau. This looks strange and intense and sexy and I love every last bit.
Based on Sarah Walter’s novel Fingersmith, Park debuted The Handmaiden earlier this year at the Cannes Film Festival. Originally set in Victorian England, he relocated the setting to Korea under Japanese colonial control in the early 20th Century. (Interestingly enough, fellow badass South Korean director and I Saw the Devil mastermind Kim Ji-woon’s latest, The Age of Shadows, which also comes out later this year, is set in the same era.)
The Handmaiden stars Ha Jung-woo (The Chaser) and Kim Min-hee (No Tears for the Dead). The story revolves around a con artist who places a maid as a spy in the home of a wealthy heiress.
Here’s the official synopsis:
Park presents a gripping and sensual tale of two women—a young Japanese lady living on a secluded estate and a Korean woman who is hired to serve as her new handmaiden, but is secretly plotting with a conman to defraud her of a large inheritance. Inspired by the novel Fingersmith by British author Sarah Waters, THE HANDMAIDEN borrows the most dynamic elements of its source material and combines it with Park Chan-wook’s singular vision to create an unforgettable viewing experience.
This may not be Park’s usual milieu, but I can’t wait to see what the Oldboy and Thirst helmer has in store for us with The Handmaiden.
Picked up by Amazon Studios and Magnolia Pictures, The Handmaiden hits theaters October 14.
Check out the handsy new poster below.