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Ah-ga-ssi (2016)

Not Rated | | Drama, Mystery, Romance | 1 June 2016 (South Korea)
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A woman is hired as a handmaiden to a Japanese heiress, but secretly she is involved in a plot to defraud her.

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(inspired by the novel "Fingersmith" by), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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119 ( 3)
54 wins & 73 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
...
...
Count Fujiwara
...
Uncle Kouzuki
...
Miss Sasaki
...
Aunt of Lady Hideko
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Si-yeon Ha ...
Maid 3
Ha-na Han ...
Junko
Ha-dam Jeong ...
Maid 5
Eun-hyung Jo ...
Young Hideko
Eun-yeong Kim ...
Maid 4
In-woo Kim ...
Audience Member
Dong-hwi Lee ...
Goo-gai
Kyu-jung Lee ...
Maid 1
Yong-nyeo Lee ...
Bok-soon
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Storyline

1930s Korea, in the period of Japanese occupation, a new girl (Sookee) is hired as a handmaiden to a Japanese heiress (Hideko) who lives a secluded life on a large countryside estate with her domineering Uncle (Kouzuki). But the maid has a secret. She is a pickpocket recruited by a swindler posing as a Japanese Count to help him seduce the Lady to elope with him, rob her of her fortune, and lock her up in a madhouse. The plan seems to proceed according to plan until Sookee and Hideko discover some unexpected emotions. Written by CJ Entertainment

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

1 June 2016 (South Korea)  »

Also Known As:

The Handmaiden  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

KRW 10,000,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$92,129 (USA) (21 October 2016)

Gross:

$2,005,473 (USA) (17 February 2017)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (extended)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

During the script writing stage, Director Park and his female co-writer Seo-kyeong Jeong often sought the advice of one of Chung's best friends, who was a queer woman, for advice on the sensibilities of queer women. See more »

Goofs

In the hotel scene in Part Three, the Seiko Solar wristwatch Lady Hideko glances at was not introduced until the 1980s. See more »

Quotes

Lady Hideko: [whispering] What does a man really want?
Sook-Hee: What?
Lady Hideko: What I mean is... the weeding night. How would I know? I grew up without a mother to teach me. I have no idea about any of this.
[pause]
Lady Hideko: Probably kissing first?
Sook-Hee: [thinking] Alright. Let's try to put her to sleep. So adorable. In a foreign country and without a mother. Alone in this giant mansion. Reading useless books. And learning nothing of value.
Lady Hideko: [thinking] Why did the taste change? Sour and bitter. Within the bitterness changes to sweetness. Sweet ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

References Once Upon a Time in the West (1968) See more »

Soundtracks

The Footsteps of My Dear Love
Performed by Gain (Ga-in Son) ft. MINSEO
(P) 2016 CJ E&M MUSIC
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Sublime cinema - like Hithcock with the extremity of Oldboy and the sexual candour of Blue is the Warmest Colour.
22 July 2016 | by See all my reviews

I consider Park Chan-Wook to be among the greats of cinema, alongside Scorsese, Tarantino, Fellini, Truffaut, Coppola, Tarkovsky and Nolan. So I had huge expectations going in, and boy, they were met.

TheHandmaiden is a masterpiece in pretty much every sense. It is visually exquisite, Costumes, production design, cinematography, music, all combine to create a lush vision of Japan-occupied Korea in the 1930s. Park Chan-Wook is a visually meticulous filmmaker and no film so far of his has showcased his knack for visual storytelling better than the Handmaiden. I went into this film totally blind, which I honestly recommend all people doing, because the plot itself unfolds in such a beautifully engineered fashion.

My best description of the film is a Rebecca-like Hitchcockian thriller with the extremity and depravity of films like Oldboy and Battle Royale, and the humanistic sexuality of Blue is the Warmest Colour. All actors are stunning in this film. The two women share an honest, tender romance that is both passionate and moving, with a refreshing candour about the nature of sexuality that is almost never seen in Hollywood productions. The Count is an incredibly charismatic performer who remains appealing despite his many despicable acts.

But as always with a Park Chan-Wook film, the real star is the director himself. The way in which this story is crafted is nothing short of engrossing. The outrageous, depraved, sexy, fascinating plot is crafted through multiple perspectives, dashing across back and forth in time, to masterfully reveal key plot points across a never less than spellbinding two hour run time. Some would say the film is slow, but I felt as though the extended running time worked in the film's favour, in order to build character to the extent that the finale for the film feels momentously epic, a real feat considering the movie showcases only four key characters.

I was utterly engrossed by this beautifully made film.


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