With The Handmaiden, Park Chan-wook transplants Sarah Waters' Victorian England-set bestsller Fingersmith to Japanese-occupied Korea in the 1930s. The result is a historically charged drama, an erotic thriller, and, above all, a magnificent romance. Under Park's sophisticated direction, Waters' tale, about a pickpocket-turned-servant and the heiress she conspires to swindle, provides the basis for something beautiful and brash. Park utilizes the novel's three-part structure to tell the story from three distinct perspectives: those of Japanese aristocrat Lady Hideko, Korean thief Sookee, and pseudonymous grifter Fujiwara. Hideko lives isolated in the luxurious colonial manor built by her tyrannical and depraved uncle, a book collector who forces Hideko to read erotic stories for his lecherous old friends. Into this bizarre daily routine enters new handmaiden Sookee, who is in on the purported Count Fujiwara's scheme to marry Hideko and seize her inheritance. But, soon enough, Hideko will experience a profound change of heart as she becomes far less interested in Fujiwara's scheme than she is in her vulnerable, repressed mistress. Growing increasingly intimate as they share Hideko's ornate wardrobe, her jewelry, and her bathtub, the two women edge toward an abyss of love that is as pure as it is passionately sexual. Lusty, role-switching games between lady and servant are interrupted along the way by morbid revelations, double-crossings, grave threats, and torture. With his brilliant mise en scène, Park plays with taboos, genres, and styles to create not only a provocative film, but also a sumptuous feast for the eyes, the mind, and the heart. Structurally similar to Rashomon, as impactful as Last Tango in Paris was in its day, The Handmaiden will likely be the boldest film you'll see this year, in every regard.