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Ah-ga-ssi (2016)

Not Rated | | Drama, Romance, Thriller | 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.

Director:

Chan-wook Park

Writers:

Sarah Waters (inspired by the novel "Fingersmith" by), Seo-kyeong Jeong (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Popularity
921 ( 95)
Top Rated Movies #237 | Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 61 wins & 96 nominations. See more awards »

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In the DMZ separating North and South Korea, two North Korean soldiers have been killed, supposedly by one South Korean soldier. But the 11 bullets found in the bodies, together with the 5 ... See full summary »

Director: Chan-wook Park
Stars: Yeong-ae Lee, Byung-Hun Lee, Kang-ho Song
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Cast

Credited cast:
Min-hee Kim ... Lady Hideko
Tae-ri Kim ... Sook-Hee
Jung-woo Ha ... Count Fujiwara
Jin-Woong Cho ... Uncle Kouzuki (as Jin-woong Jo)
Hae-sook Kim ... Miss Sasaki (as Hae-suk Kim)
So-Ri Moon ... Aunt of Lady Hideko
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Si-yeon Ha Si-yeon Ha ... Maid 3
Ha-na Han Ha-na Han ... Junko
Ha-dam Jeong Ha-dam Jeong ... Maid 5
Eun-hyung Jo Eun-hyung Jo ... Young Hideko
Eun-yeong Kim Eun-yeong Kim ... Maid 4
In-woo Kim In-woo Kim ... Audience Member
Dong-hwi Lee Dong-hwi Lee ... Goo-gai
Kyu-jung Lee 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

Taglines:

Never did they expect to get into a controversial relationship...


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

South Korea

Language:

Korean | Japanese

Release Date:

1 June 2016 (South Korea) See more »

Also Known As:

The Handmaiden See more »

Filming Locations:

Nagoya, Aichi, Japan See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

KRW 10,000,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$92,129, 23 October 2016, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$2,005,473, 17 February 2017

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,968,494, 22 January 2017
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Moho Film, Yong Film See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (extended) | (extended cut)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Pre-sold to 116 territories ahead of its theatrical release. 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

Uncle Kouzuki: Korea is ugly, and Japan is beautiful.
Count Fujiwara: Some Japanese say Japan is ugly and Korea is beautiful.
Uncle Kouzuki: Korea is soft, slow, dull, and therefore hopeless.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Extended version runs approx. 21 minutes longer. See more »

Connections

References Oldeuboi (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

The Saviour Who Came to Tear My Life Apart
Vocals by Min-hee Kim (as Kim Min-hee)
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 sossevarvoSee 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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