Written by 11:00 pm Facts & Trivia, Movies

10 Intriguing Trivia About “Ah-ga-ssi” (The Handmaiden)

Four characters from the movie Ah-ga-ssi pose standing up.

“Ah-ga-ssi,” also known as “The Handmaiden,” is a mesmerizing film directed by Park Chan-wook. Released in 2016, the film is an adaptation of Sarah Waters’ novel “Fingersmith” and tells a captivating tale of deception, desire, and liberation. Set in 1930s Korea under Japanese colonial rule, “Ah-ga-ssi” takes the audience on a thrilling journey filled with twists and turns. In this blog post, we will explore 10 intriguing trivia facts about “Ah-ga-ssi” that shed light on its production, its cultural impact, and the creative genius of Park Chan-wook.

  1. A Tale of Adaptation:

“Ah-ga-ssi” is a loose adaptation of Sarah Waters’ novel “Fingersmith.” Park Chan-wook skillfully reimagines the story, setting it against the backdrop of Japanese-occupied Korea and infusing it with his signature style and themes.

  1. Park Chan-wook’s Cinematic Vision:

Renowned for his visually striking and thematically complex films, Park Chan-wook brings his unique directorial style to “Ah-ga-ssi.” His meticulous attention to detail and masterful storytelling create a captivating cinematic experience.

  1. The Alluring Cast:

The film boasts a talented cast, including Kim Min-hee, Ha Jung-woo, and Kim Tae-ri, who deliver exceptional performances that bring the complex characters to life. Their chemistry and depth of portrayal contribute to the film’s allure.

Cover photo from Ah-ga-ssi movie featuring Lady Hideko (Kim Min-hee), Count Fujiwara (Ha Jung-woo), and Sook-Hee (Kim Tae-ri).

  1. Filming Locations:

“Ah-ga-ssi” was predominantly filmed in South Korea, with various locations serving as the backdrop for different settings in the film. From opulent mansions to lush gardens, each location enhances the visual splendor of the story.

  1. Sensuality and Eroticism:

“Ah-ga-ssi” explores themes of sensuality and eroticism, embracing a bold and provocative approach to storytelling. The film’s uninhibited exploration of desire challenges societal norms and adds a layer of intensity to the narrative.

  1. Costume and Production Design:

The film’s costume and production design meticulously recreate the 1930s era, showcasing the opulence and cultural influences of the time. The attention to detail in the set pieces, costumes, and props enhances the authenticity of the period.

  1. A Tale of Perspectives:

“Ah-ga-ssi” is known for its intricate narrative structure, which presents multiple perspectives and reveals hidden layers of the story. The film keeps the audience guessing, building suspense and providing unexpected plot twists.

"Lady Hideko (Kim Min-hee) from the movie 'Ah-ga-ssi' receives a soothing foot massage from her maid.

  1. International Recognition:

“Ah-ga-ssi” received critical acclaim both in South Korea and internationally. It premiered at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, where it won the Vulcain Prize for Technical Achievement, further cementing its reputation as a cinematic masterpiece.

  1. Cultural Impact and Controversies:

The film sparked discussions and debates due to its explicit content and the portrayal of same-sex relationships. While it faced some controversies, “Ah-ga-ssi” also contributed to the visibility and acceptance of LGBTQ+ narratives in South Korean cinema.

  1. Park Chan-wook’s Signature Themes:

“Ah-ga-ssi” incorporates themes prevalent in Park Chan-wook’s body of work, such as identity, revenge, and the intricate nature of human relationships. These themes add depth and complexity to the story, making it a thought-provoking experience.

“Ah-ga-ssi” is a tour de force that combines visual splendor, narrative intricacy, and compelling performances to create a film that lingers in the minds of its viewers. The exploration of desire, deception, and liberation in a culturally significant backdrop makes it a captivating and thought-provoking cinematic experience. As we delve into these trivia facts, we gain a deeper appreciation for the creative genius of Park Chan-wook and the impact of “Ah-ga-ssi” in pushing the boundaries of storytelling.

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Last modified: July 9, 2023