South Korea’s films are getting edgier and racier.
The lesbian crime thriller “The Handmaiden” vaulted to the No. 1 spot in South Korean box office sales between June 3-5. It grossed a record 15 billion won ($12.6 million), grabbing a 47% share of the weekend box-office sales, according to the Korean Film Council.
The movie drew 1.8 million moviegoers in its first week, setting the record as the top R-rated (19 and over) movie. It surpassed the previous Hollywood R-rated movie “Deadpool,” which opened locally with 1.7 million people in February.
Distributed by C J Entertainment, Handmaiden debuted after generating a huge buzz from Cannes Film Festival which was held from May 11-22. The director Park Chan-wook is a veteran movie director who’s known internationally for winning the grand Prix for his previous film, “Old Boy” at 2003 Cannes festival. He also won the Jury Prize for his movie “Thirst” in 2009.
Handmaiden has been sold to 175 countries so far.
The film is the adaptation of a British novel “Fingersmith.” It tells of a young Korean orphan girl in the 1930s who is hired by a character called The Count (Ha Jung-woo) to con a wealthy Japanese heiress into marrying him. Kim Tae-ri plays Sook-hee, the orphan girl, who becomes a maid for a Japanese heiress Hideko (Kim Min-hee). Two women soon become attracted to each other. This complicates the plot hatched by The Count who covets Hideko’s fortune.