Archive of films The Handmaiden / Agassi

South Korea
2016, 145 min

Section: Horizons
Year: 2016

The 1930s, Korea under Japanese rule. A young pickpocket is hired as a handmaiden to a rich woman and given the task of convincing her to marry an ambitious fraudster, thereby fleecing her of her ample inheritance. Things go according to plan until the two women begin to discover mutual feelings of passion. The latest effort from the visionary director of Old Boy competed for the Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes fest.


This period drama is set in the 1930s, when Korea was under Japanese colonial rule. A cunning con artist pretending to be a Japanese count plants the Korean pickpocket Sookee in the home of the wealthy Japanese lady Hideko by passing her off as a servant. Sookee’s job is to lay the groundwork for his plot to lure the lady of the house away from her overly protective uncle. He then plans to seduce her, have her declared insane, and rob her of her fortune. But the ambitious scam doesn’t take into account the unexpected passion that ignites between Sookee and Hideko. Renowned Korean director Park Chan-wook based his film on Sarah Waters’ novel Fingersmith, which was short-listed for the Man Booker Prize. The sophisticated plot of the original has been adapted into a well-crafted film with an engaging style and excellent performances from the three lead actors. Appearing in the main roles are Kim Min-hee, Ha Jung-woo and Kim Tae-ri.

Hubert Poul

About the director

Park Chan-wook (b. 1963, Seoul, South Korea) studied philosophy at Sogang University. During his studies he organized a film club and published film reviews. He gained international attention with his third feature film, Joint Security Area (2000 – shown in the New Korean Cinema section at KVIFF). This was followed by a trilogy on the subject of revenge: Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002), Old Boy (2003 – Grand Prix at Cannes; KVIFF Horizons) and Sympathy for Lady Vengeance (2005). His reputation as one of Asia’s most original contemporary filmmakers was cemented by his next films: the romantic sci-fi comedy I’m a Cyborg, but That’s OK (2006), the vampire horror Thirst (2009 – another Grand Prix at Cannes; shown in KVIFF’s Open Eyes), the half-hour fantasy film Night Fishing (2011 – Prague Short Film Festival), Stoker (2013), and the retro-drama The Handmaiden.


Jirečkova 8, 170 00, Praha 7
Czech Republic
Tel: +420 224 947 566
Fax: +420 224 947 566
E-mail: [email protected]

CJ Entertainment Inc.
2nd Fl., 602 Shinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, 135 893, Seoul
Korea (Republic of)
Tel: +82 237 184 70
Fax: +82 220 171 241
E-mail: [email protected]

About the film

Color, DCP

Section: Horizons
Director: Park Chan-wook
Screenplay: Park Chan-wook, Jung Seo-kyung podle románu Zlodějka / based on the novel Fingersmith by Sarah Waters
Dir. of Photography: Chung Chung-hoon
Music: Cho Young-wuk
Editor: Kim Sang-bum, Kim Jae-bum
Art Director: Ryu Seong-hee
Producer: Park Chan-wook, Sid Lym
Production: Moho Film, Yong Film
Cast: Kim Min-hee, Kim Tae-ri, Ha Jung-woo, Cho Jing-woo
Sales: CJ Entertainment Inc.
Distributor: Aerofilms


Ivo Andrle



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