The Radical Roots of 2016's Sexiest Movie: A Conversation with Park Chan-wook

The Radical Roots of 2016’s Sexiest Movie: A Conversation with Park Chan-wook

Park Chan-wook is one of modern-day cinema’s bold, ferocious mavericks. Think of that four-minute shot in his 2003 movie Oldboy, where Oh our hero inventively wastes several thugs in a packed corridor and then an elevator, a knife stuck in his back all the while. The South Korean filmmaker made his mark stateside with this dazzling revenge film. (Spike Lee ineptly remade it a decade later.) The Handmaiden, a striking lesbian love story, has been hailed as the year’s sexiest film. Like Joint Security Area, Park’s 2000 breakthrough exploration of Korea’s partition and its DMZ (border demilitarized zone)—which Bill Clinton once described as “the scariest place in the world”—The Handmaiden explores Korea’s traumatic history. Set in Japan-occupied Korea in the 1930s, it features Japanese heiress Hideko (Kim Min-hee) and her maid, Sook-hee (Tae Ri Kim), who fall in love despite malevolent male influences such as Hideko’s uncle Kouzuki (Cho Jin-woong). Spoiler alert: Sook-hee arrives…

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