Top 100 Most Anticipated Foreign Films of 2016: #21. Park Chan-wook’s The Handmaid

Park Chan-wook's The Handmaid

The Handmaid

Director: Park Chan-wook
Writer: Park Chan-wook

Despite being attached to a number of projects following his first foray into the English language with the underwhelmingly received (but appropriately atmospheric) 2013 title Stoker (read review) South Korean auteur Park Chan-wook loosely adapts Sarah Waters’ novel Fingersmith for his own designs. A three hour BBC miniseries of the novel was produced in 2005 starring Sally Hawkins and Imelda Staunton. Chan-wook’s changes were significant enough to have Waters ask for a change in the title (which now makes it reminiscent of Im Sang-soo’s remake of The Housemaid). Chan-wook relocates the narrative to Korea when the country was under Japanese rule, and involves its a con-man employing a pick-pocket to assist fleecing a noblewoman. We expect moody similarities to Chan-wook’s treatment of Therese Raquin in his 2009 film, Thirst—and we’re curious to see his handling of Waters’ lesbian protagonist.

Cast: Ha Jung-woo, Kim Min-hee, Jo Jin-woong, Kim Tae-ri

Production Co./Producers: Moho Film’s Chan-Wook, Yong Film’s Lee Yong-seung (Crying Fist).

U.S. Distributor: Rights Available. TBD (domestic/international).

Release Date: Filming wrapped on Halloween, 2015, and CJ Entertainment claims it will be ready for the second half of 2016, but we’d imagine a premiere at Cannes is in order.

Nicholas Bell is a Los Angeles based film critic/journalist for IONCINEMA.com, covering film festivals such as Sundance, Cannes, TIFF, AFI, as well as weekly film reviews. Nicholas is also a regular contributor to men's fashion periodical, MM Magazine. Top Films From Contemporary Film Auteurs: Almodóvar (All About My Mother), Coen Bros. (No Country For Old Men), Dardenne Bros. (The Kid With a Bike), Haneke (The Piano Teacher), Hsiao-Hsien (Flight of the Red Balloon), Kar-wai (In The Mood For Love), Kiarostami (Close-Up), Lynch (Blue Velvet), Tarantino (Inglourious Basterds), Van Sant (My Own Private Idaho), von Trier (Dogville), Zulawski (Possession), Carax (Mauvais Sang)