For a better experience on MUBI, update your browser.
7.9
/10
2,882 Ratings

The Handmaiden

아가씨 | Agassi

Directed by Park Chan-wook
South Korea, 2016
Drama, Thriller, Romance

Synopsis

In Japanese-occupied Korea, a conman operating under the sobriquet of “Count Fujiwara” hires a pickpocket named Sook-Hee from a family of con artists to become the maid of the mysterious heiress Lady Hideko, whom Fujiwara plans to marry and to commit to an asylum in order to steal her inheritance.

This film is not currently playing on MUBI but 30 other great films are. See what’s now showing
The Handmaiden Directed by Park Chan-wook

Awards & Festivals

Cannes Film Festival

2016 | Winner: Vulcain Prize for the Technical Artist

Village Voice Film Poll

2016 | 2 nominations including: Best Film

Indiewire Critics' Poll

2016 | 5 nominations including: Best Film

On its surface, The Handmaiden is an intoxicating study of duality and code-switching, a theatre played with the ropes that rig society to elevate the few and subjugate the many. It’s a meditation on power and desire, porn and performance. But more than this: its a brilliantly dark ode to women’s desire and autonomy: a subject that remains as pressing today as it was a century ago.
May 19, 2017
Read full article
It’s almost like there’s a fuzzy line being drawn between bad erotica (here, written works and readings for the benefit of men) and good erotica (here, sex between two women, as presented to us by a male filmmaker). This might have made more sense in Sarah Walters’ original novel Fingersmith, where the two kinds of erotica would both be literary, and the women’s stuff would actually be written by a woman. But we enjoyed it — my God, the design is fantastic.
May 17, 2017
Read full article
Park visibly rules his cinematic kingdom with imperial autonomy, cooking up a hyper-elaborate plot and mounting it on spectacular sets, designed by Ryu Seong-hee, of extraordinary beauty and intricacy. The sprawling, oppressive dwelling of wicked uncle Kouzuki is a Wellesian Xanadu, and creating it on screen in all its palatial complexity is in itself a statement of triumphantly unrestrained auteurial power.
April 13, 2017
Read full article

Related films