• An emotional rollercoaster ride for open-minded cineastes

    Ladies and gentlemen,

    Did I already mention the greatness of contemporary South Korean cinema? ''The Handmaiden'' is another perfect example and offers an emotional drama with a surprising, tense and twisted story set in the first half of the twentieth century. Precisely shot by talented director Park Chan-wook who offered milestones such as ''Sympathy for Mister Vengeance'', ''Oldboy'' and ''I'm a Cyborg But That's OK'', this film explores the diversified facets of eroticism and romance in an artistic way starring highly skilled veteran and rookie actresses and actors. This courageous, gripping and unconventional movie is a unique experience and highly recommended for adults with a genuine interest in exploratory cinema.

    Please read my detailed review for more information,

    Sebastian Kluth

    Ah-ga-ssi / The Handmaiden (2016)

    ''The Handmaiden'' is a mesmerizing period drama that convinces with a twisted story, gloomy settings, an atmospheric score, precise cinematography, profound characters and incredible acting performances. It consists of three parts, the first two leading to clever twists and the last one to a satisfactory conclusion that leaves no questions unanswered if you watch carefully. The story is set in Japanese-occupied Korea and tells the story of a thief's daughter who is collaborating with a clever crook in order to steal the inheritance of a rich Japanese lady living in seclusion with her perverted uncle. Telling you anything more would take away from the movie's brilliant storytelling.

    The movie has a slow pace but develops a melancholic atmosphere right from the start with the very first scene until the final freeze frame. Despite a few necessary repetitions in the story due to a few shifts in perspective, the movie passed surprisingly quickly despite a running time of nearly two and a half hours.

    The story is clever and emotional with its twists and turns. Some twists are hard to predict while others are easier to figure out and others again aren't directly revealed throughout the movie but they are all told carefully, elegantly and profoundly. This movie doesn't only stimulate your genitals and your heart but also your brain.

    The film should only be watched by mature adults since it includes a lot of eroticism. The movie carefully contrasts cold sexual abuse and passionate romance in a balanced way. This isn't only done by performing credible sexual intercourse in front of the camera. This is also told through facial expressions, quotes from erotic novels and appropriate settings. While more conservative minds could be shocked, one should note that every single scene adds to the clever story and the depth of the characters. This movie doesn't include any sexual innuendo and no pornographic movie could even slightly achieve what this movie does. This is truly a lesson in eroticism performed by highly skilled actors and actresses and this combination makes this movie stand out.

    In the end, the combination of intense emotions, profound eroticism and an intelligent story in a movie involving outstanding actors and actresses and directed by one of the world's best directors makes this one of the very best period dramas ever made in the history of cinema. Not only genre fans will adore this movie but any adult with a genuine interest in cinema should watch this contemporary masterpiece.

    Final rating: 10/10

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