Director: Park Chan-wook
Starring: Kim Min-hee, Kim Tae-ri, Ha Jung-woo, Cho Jin-woong
Lurid. Nasty. Darkly funny. Park Chan-wook's The Handmaiden is a lot of things, but it's certainly never boring. A somewhat faithful, but also somewhat loose, adaptation of Sarah Waters' novel Fingersmith, The Handmaiden is an elaborate contraption of a movie that transports the original narrative from Victorian England to the 1930s in Japanese occupied Korea and stuns with its sumptuous costuming and production design, gorgeous (and playful) cinematography, its merciless violence, frank eroticism, and its ability to deftly navigate the turns and multiple turnabouts of its story. The Handmaiden is a savage beauty of a film and it's probably just as well that South Korea didn't make it their submission for the Best Foreign Language Film race at the Oscars since the Academy tends towards the conservative and films this twisted and explicit only rarely get nominated (and pretty much never win).