Keswick Film Club - The Handmaiden

Sunday 19th March 5:00 PM

The Handmaiden 

Director: Chan-wook Park Country: South Korea
Cert: TBC Year: 2015 Length: 144 mins Language: Korean and Japanese
The Handmaiden

Programme Notes

Cinema Handout (PDF 77KB)

Audience Reaction

Score: 76.09% Attendance: 114



  • More details on this film at the Internet Movie Database


Prepare yourself for a feast - a feast of sumptuous beauty, of tricks and cons, of twisting loyalties and, yes, of sensual pleasure. Chan-wook Park, until now known for quasi-horror movies like 'Oldboy' (Festival 2005), has produced this "lush, romantic, crowd-pleasing melodrama" - David Edelstein, New York Magazine - adapted from Sarah Water's novel 'Fingersmith'. The difference is that she set it in Victorian England, he has moved it to Korea in the 1930s, when Korea was under Japanese rule - everyone was pretending to be Japanese to get on, which gives us the backdrop to the film.

Sook-Hee is hired by Count Fujiwara to be the handmaiden to the woman he is trying to marry, Hideko...but Fujiwara is a Korean con-man, not a Japanese Count, trying to steal Hideko's money and Sook-hee's past is a lot different from what she pretends. To add to the mystery, she and Hideko begin to fall in love ...

The film is told in three chapters, each from a different view-point, with the plot getting more involved as we go: "It's when the twists began and then the twists on the twists that I started to get excited" - David Edelstein again.

A beautiful, clever thriller, then, with added sensual excitement (you have been warned!); as Tom Huddleston says in Time Out, "this is smart, sumptuous and wonderfully indulgent, best watched on a wet Sunday with an entire box of chocolates". Keswick will, no doubt, handle the weather, you bring the chocolates...



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