Ah-ga-ssi [The Handmaiden] (2016)

Director: Chan-wook Park
Writer: Seo-kyeong Jeong, Chan-wook Park
Based on: Sarah Waters’ novel Fingersmith
Cast: Min-hee Kim, Tae-ri Kim, Jung-woo Ha, Jin-woong Jo, Hae-suk Kim, So-ri Moon
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 25.9.2016
[Review by cornholio.]

Sook-Hee (Tae-ri Kim) lives with her adoptive family who ply their trade as thieves and with various cons. When a regular collaborator with them, called Count Fujiwara (Jung-woo Ha), suggests a new con, Sook-Hee suddenly finds herself training to become a maid to the rich Hideko (Min-hee Kim), one of the Japanese occupiers in Korea. Hideko lives in a remote estate with her uncle Kouzuki (Jin-woong Jo), an avid book collector. The Count was a guest of theirs and saw the perfect opportunity: he would marry Hideko and then get rid of her, but keep her money. All he needs is a confidante who makes sure that Hideko makes the right decisions. And so Sook-Hee travels to the estate to make sure their plan goes off without a hitch.

I expected many things from the film, since I both loved the book it’s based on and Park’s Vengeance Trilogy and Stoker. Happily it all managed to keep up with my expectations. It’s a beautiful and gripping film.

Continue reading


Bakjwi [Thirst] (2009)

Director: Chan-wook Park
Writer: Chan-wook Park, Seo-Gyeong Jeong
Based on: Émile Zola‘s novel Thérèse Raquin (rather loosely)
Cast: Kang-ho Song, Ok-bin Kim, Hae-suk Kim, Ha-kyun Shin, In-hwan Park

Priest Sang-hyeon (Kang-ho Song) volunteers to participate in a medical experiment to find a vaccine for an infectious disease. But instead of helping science, Sang-hyeon gets infected with vampirism. But with a growing lust for blood, there are also other desires that are stirring within him. And in his childhood friend’s wife Tae-ju (Ok-bin Kim), whose relationship with her husband Kang-woo (Ha-kyun Shin) and his mother Lady Ra (Hae-suk Kim) is rather strained, he finds just the person he wants to fulfill those desires with.

This is a strange little film. I struggled a bit with it, but I was nevertheless drawn into its atmosphere and story.

Continue reading