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Annual Top Films Lists

Top 100 Most Anticipated Foreign Films of 2016: #21. 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.

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Los Angeles based Nicholas Bell is IONCINEMA.com's Chief Film Critic and covers film festivals such as Sundance, Berlin, Cannes, TIFF and AFI. His top 3 theatrical releases for 2017: Andrei Konchalovsky's Paradise, Amat Escalante's The Untamed and Terence Davies' A Quiet Passion.

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