Happy one year anniversary of the release of the film The Handmaiden, which first premiered in the U.S. on this day in 2016. Based
on Sarah Waters’s iconic lesbian novel Fingersmith,
the film adapts the story of a pickpocket falling in love with an heiress in
Victorian England into Victorian-era South Korea.
Similar to other iconic LGBT films such as Carol or Moonlight, The Handmaiden has grown its very own pocket of devoted lesbian fandom ever since its release last year (x).
In the film, Kim Min-hee and Kim
Tae-ri star as the protagonists, the wealthy Lady Izumi Hideko and trained pickpocket Sook-hee.
Sook-hee comes from a long line of con artists and the tale picks up with her in the midst of her latest project working for a man named Count Fujiwara. With Sook-hee posing as a maid,
Fujiwara invades the home of the single and rich Lady Izumi with the intent of
marrying her, committing her to an asylum, and then divvying up what’s left of
her fortune between himself and Sook-hee. The plan seems airtight until
Sook-hee and Izumi sleep together one night and begin to feel themselves
falling in love.
The Handmaiden made its first big splash after premiering at the
2016 Cannes Film Festival and making headlines as the new thrilling South
Korean lesbian drama that everyone couldn’t wait to get their hands on. At
Cannes, Ryu Seong-hee won the Vulcan Award of the Technical Artist for her art
direction. It was also shown at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival and
was lauded as one of the top 15 best films to be shown there. To date, it is
the highest grossing film director Park Chan-wook has ever released in the