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Park Chan-wook’s Agasshi gears up for Cannes premiere

Agasshi (or The Handmaiden), the newest film from director Park Chan-wook (Oldboy, Thirst), is making its world premiere at the 69th Cannes Film Festival, which opens next week on May 11. The stylish interpretation of Sarah Waters’ Victorian crime novel Fingersmith stars Kim Min-hee (Crying Man) and Ha Jung-woo (Assassination) in a story about thieves who seduce an heiress for her fortune.

The adaptation transfers the story to 1930s Korea, where a young heiress, played by Kim Min-hee, comes to live with her uncle Jo Jin-woong (Signal) after her parents’ death. Ha Jung-woo plays a con man who sets his sights on her fortune, and he devises a plan to seduce her as a gentleman suitor and marry into the family. And in order to do so, he plants a maid in her household to play the go-between and ensure that the heiress will fall in love with him.

The maid, played by newcomer Kim Tae-ri, is a poor orphan girl who was the daughter of thieves. She grows up to be a pickpocket herself, and enters the household to befriend the lonely heiress and do her part in Ha Jung-woo’s scheme. The problem is, the relationship between the two women becomes genuine, and the maid finds herself caught between the con man and the heiress.

This will be director Park Chan-wook’s first domestic film since 2009’s Thirst, and for this project he reunited with the crew of Oldboy, from producer to cinematographer, art director, costume designer, and music director. At a press conference on May 2, Park Chan-wook admitted his surprise at having Agasshi chosen for the Official Selection category at Cannes (the one competing for top jury awards): “Agasshi isn’t ambiguous in any way and is definitely a movie, so I didn’t know that it would be invited for the competition category.”

He added, “The original novel has vivid characters, and I fell for the surprising twist. Among all the films I’ve done, it has the most dialogue, and has subtle entertainment. It’s the most unusual of my works.” I’m interpreting all of that to mean it’s actually the most conventional of all his films, which I can see since he’s basing it on an existing narrative.

The trailer below highlights more of the artistic flair and off-kilter vibe you might expect from the filmmaker, though honestly the first trailer above is the one that makes me actually want to see the movie, because the story is tense and thrilling. Well, that and Jo Jin-woong’s eyebrows have captivated me with their weirdness. I must see those things in action.

After its unveiling at Cannes, Agasshi will hit theaters in Korea in June.

Via Dailian

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Omg can't wait to watch Agasshi

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Oooh, this looks really good. I'm a big fan of his films so I can't wait to see this!

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So looking forward to this as well! Looks awesome and Jo Jin-woong (Signal) is a favorite of mine. A must watch!

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Sounds good, hope to see it some day.

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Whoa, looks and sounds really intriguing. Having the maid be caught between the con man and her newlyfound friendship/relationship with the heiress makes it even more intense. Now I'm interested. Can't wait to see it!
Btw, I can't believe Kim Min-hee hasn't been in a drama since 2008's Love & Marriage (which was a fun show)! Would love to see her drama comeback soon.

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I'm having horror attacks from the close ups.

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Greaaaaat, if Agasshi does well in Cannes it may come to our cinemas! I can't wait to see Jo Jin-woong in the big screen.<3

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Wow, I really love the BBC adaptation of Fingersmith.
I wonder if the movie will really follow the original story line, considering how taboo it is in Korea. If you want to know what I meant by 'taboo' then just google the Fingersmith novel/movie. If told well, this movie should be really good. Will be interesting to see how they will incorporate some of the really western elements into a period Korean setting.

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I love the BBC version too, although I like Tipping the Velvet (same author) more because I saw it first. I also wonder how the film is going to handle certain things. But it's not as if it's a drama, so it might just go for it.

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I saw Tipping the Velvet at a much younger age (accidentally when I was channel hopping one night). It sure was enlightening! lol
True, because it's a movie it may not be as taboo. But after living in Korea for a few years, I have seen what certain anti-'things' groups can do.
Regardless, I hope that the movie can be adapted well.

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If there is anyone who can tackle that kind of controversies in films it'd be Park Chan Wook. He is brilliant! I think he knows where to draw the line.

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well considering what he got away with showing in Old Boy (grotesque levels of violence and incest to boot) I would be amazed if he wasnt allowed to show some sensual lesbian activity. i guess we'll see. but yikes at anyone who thinks Oldboy is okay but ladies kissing is unacceptable. not directed at you ofc! just general.

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Look up the international trailer, there's definitely girls kissing.

Korean films have always been much more liberal than primetime dramas anyway.

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I'm pleasantly surprised to see Kim Tae-ri's name show up on the trailer 2nd, before HJW and JJQ!

I feel like HJW looks sexier as he ages. x_x

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YES! Ha Jung Woo is looking mighty fine as he gets older. He is the most amazing talented actor in Chungmuro. I'd watch him in anything.

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"I must see those things in action." hahahaha!!!

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I just looked up Kim Tae-ri and AsianWiki says she is 26 years old!! Is that right? Because she looks 16.

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well considering what her character gets up to in the book, i really hope she's NOT 16! lol

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What... what are those moth caterpillars passing off as Jo JinWoong's eyebrows?

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My most anticipated movie of the year. With Park Chan Wook at the helm, I'm sure it'll have a world wide release with Eng subs at some point.

Beside the obvious draw and must watch for (Ha Jung Woo, Director Park Chan Wook and Jo Jin Woong) I'm excited to see Lee Min Hee and Moon Sori in it too.

Exited! Love period films and I kow Park Chan Wook doesn't make crappy movies.

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err *know*

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same, I wonder how it'll do commercially considering the subject matter, but at least we can have some faith it will be good!

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Omg so pretty and elegant... <3

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WOWWWWW HOLY CRAP
This is so. exciting. This looks beautiful.

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I am sooooooooooooooooo excited!!! I love the book, the Victorian setting was a great lure for me. Hope the Korean adaptation does justice to the book. ?

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That last poster is beautiful. Director Park Chan-wook's name alone already makes me want to see this movie. I am familiar with Fingersmith, but haven't really made time to read it. I think I'll watch this movie first before reading the book.

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I can't wait! I hope I can watch this in the theaters. Definitely a movie I'd pay for.

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I've seen the british adaptation which I enjoyed and this does look as it could be just as good.
I'm just annoyed by the kimono styling and what are supposed to be "Japanese hairstyles".
In some scenes they look as if they got stuff right in others, like cheap bathrobes that you find online.
The guess is they wanted a more geisha-esque hairstyle but it still doesn't look like that.....><

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Well, actually I think the costume director was going more with the Victorian "Gibson Girl" hair style rather than Japanese per say.

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Edwardian, Gibson Girl hairdos were a thing after Victoria's death.

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I'm so excited for this. Will definitely watch!

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If it in Cannes, then it'd be sub in English for public screening soon, right?

This movie looks artfully crafted and beautifully portrayed. I can't wait to watch it.

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Wow this looks interesting, I love the style of the trailer.

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I love the aesthetic and while I haven't read Fingersmith (really torn about whether to do that now before the movie comes out or wait for the movie to come out with subs so I can see it unspoiled), I've read two of Sarah Waters' other novels so I do expect this to be great.

and goodness, Kim Min-hee looks gorgeous.

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I want to watch the movie first.

I think Kim Min-hee fits this role. She was always pretty but she is even more beautiful here.

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And once again, I forget to check the price of this book whie at the bookstore the other day! Argh! But, I generally like to read the book before watching the adaptation. I guess we'll see how long this takes to come out.

Love me some Park Chan Wook. Have his Vengeance Trilogy on DVD to watch anytime I want and have watched Thirst a couple of times. I dig this guy's aesthetic and ability to tell a story so I have assurance that this will be visually pleasing and pretty riveting to boot. Looking forward to it so much and loving the cast as well! Kim Min Hee looks gorgeous, I'd fall in love with her too.

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