Park Chan-wook’s The Handmaiden Gets a Seductively Gorgeous Trailer

By  · Published on May 6th, 2016

Sex and deception have rarely looked this exquisite.

If you love cinema, especially genre cinema, then you love the films of Park Chan-wook. His most popular film, Oldboy, offers up a twisted tale of revenge unlike any other, but it isn’t even Park’s best. That honor goes to his female-led revenge story, Lady Vengeance, or his exciting and erotically-charged take on vampires, Thirst. Honestly, the case could be made for any of his features from Joint Security Area to Stoker – well, any of them aside from I’m a Cyborg But That’s Okay anyway – because the craftsmanship, intelligence, and beauty on display across his filmography are consistently brilliant.

His latest film, The Handmaiden, is set to debut at Cannes later this month, and while a couple earlier trailers have already dropped it’s the latest one that gives you everything you need to realize you need to see this movie. The trailer doesn’t even reveal much of anything plot-wise, and instead it’s a combination of stunning imagery, aggressively rhythmic pacing, and addictive scoring that works to draw you in like a siren call.

Check out the trailer below.

Good gravy this is a beautiful-looking film.

Based on Sarah Waters’ 2002 novel, Fingersmith, the story follows a young woman who’s cajoled into posing as an heiress’ maid in order to secure her trust and guide her into the arms of a con-artist intent on acquiring her fortune. The plan takes an unexpected turn though when the maid develops real affection for her intended mark. Park has moved the action from Victorian era Great Britain to early 20th century Korea and brought together quite a cast including Ha Jung-woo (The Chaser) as the con-artist, Kim Min-hee (No Tears for the Dead) as the target, and Jo Jin-woong (A Hard Day) as the heiress’ strict uncle. Newcomer Kim Tae-ri plays the titular handmaiden who finds herself in over her head. The official synopsis is below.

1930s Korea, in the period of Japanese occupation, Sookee is hired as a handmaiden to a Japanese heiress named Hideko who lives a secluded life on an estate with her domineering Uncle Kouzuki. But the maid has a secret. She and a swindler who poses as a Japanese Count are scheming to get the Lady engaged, rob her fortune, and lock her up in a madhouse. All proceeds according to plan until Sookee starts to truly understand Hideko.

The Handmaiden premieres May 14th at the Cannes Film Festival and will be released by Amazon Studios sometime later this year (hopefully). Let these character posters whet your appetite until then.

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Rob Hunter has been writing for Film School Rejects since before you were born, which is weird seeing as he's so damn young. He's our Chief Film Critic and Associate Editor and lists 'Broadcast News' as his favorite film of all time. Feel free to say hi if you see him on Twitter @FakeRobHunter.