You know around these parts we’re big fans of Bong Joon-ho’s Snowpiercer. The tragic sci-fi. The broody Chris Evans. The grimy to glorious world-building. The Gilliam influence. The SWINTON. The post-apocalyptic revolution tale not only boasted a director of such admired efforts as Mother and The Host, but also a cavalcade of stars, including Octavia Spencer, Jamie Bell, Ewen Bremner, Ed Harris, John Hurt, Vlad Ivanov, Ko Ah-sung, and Song Kang-ho. But now another Korean offering has just broken the sales record for this genre-flick stuffed with stars, catching our eye and sparking our interest.
THR reports out of European Film Market, The Handmaiden sold distributions rights to a whopping 175 countries. That beats out Snowpiercer’s record by 8 countries, making The Handmaiden the best-selling Korean film of all time. And it’s done this without major international stars, without the strong genre hook, and without a comic book fan base.
One of the most praised films out of this year’s Cannes Film Festival, The Handmaiden comes from acclaimed director Park Chan-wook, who introduced the world to the dark pleasures of Korean revenge thriller with his Vengeance Trilogy: Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Oldboy and Lady Vengeance. Based on a novel by Sarah Waters, his latest spins a story in 1930s Japanese-occupied Korea. There, an orphan girl is conscripted by a con man to win over the heart of a wealthy heiress for his own means. This period drama about love and deception is being called, “clever, heady and sensually lavish,” “an intelligent, funny erotic thriller,” and “manages to surprise us in almost every scene, every frame.”
If Chan-wook’s past films weren’t reason enough to lure you into this lesbian romantic drama, then perhaps the showers of praise The Handmaiden is getting at one of the world’s most prestigious festivals will turn your head.
As Amazon Studios bought the U.S. rights, America will soon have easy access to the alluring title. So stay tuned on when we can all get to know The Handmaiden.
Kristy Puchko wants to go to there.