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The Handmaiden (18)

The Handmaiden

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Sunday 9 Jul 201718:00 Book Now

Sarah Waters' erotic novel Fingersmith (a fitting title) has fallen into the hands of Korean auteur Park Chan-wook, and it couldn't have turned out better.


We've seen the works of Waters before in BBC's Tipping the Velvet, yet here Wook has crafted a far richer, moodier tale. Transporting it from Victorian England to Japanese occupied '30s Korea, a con artist, calling himself Count Fujiwara (Ha Jung-woo), hatches a devious plan that sees him working alongside pickpocket Sook-hee to steal the many riches of beautiful heiress Lady Hideko. Isolated and bullied into an impending marriage with her uncle, Hideko takes on Sook-hee as her handmaiden. But while Sook-hee’s task is getting her new mistress to fall for the “Count”, she finds herself sexually drawn to her instead.


What’s so fascinating is how unsatisfying and often grotesque male sexuality is in comparison to the eroticism and warmth generated by the women of the film (the Count is merely an annoyance to the lesbian pair). It's a fair few shades of grey darker than what we might be used to. Proceed with caution. (research Jack Whiting) But proceed all the same. Be cautious only about the time. At 2hrs 40 the prog start time is 7pm.