When it was first announced that Park Chan-Wook would be adapting Sarah Waters‘ novel “Fingersmith,” it seemed like an odd choice for the filmmaker who generally likes to push the genre envelope. But upon seeing “The Handmaiden,” it all made sense. Revamping the story for his sensibilities, Park Chan-Wook’s film is sexy, violent, hilarious and definitely epic film, stretching out across 144 fast-moving minutes. It’s the rare thriller where spending more time with the characters wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing, and fans in South Korea are already getting that chance.
Collider sat down with the director at TIFF, and he revealed that in South Korea, enthusiasm for the movie compelled the release of an extended edition of “The Handmaiden,” and the good news is that we may get to see it stateside too. (Quotes below are from Park Chan-Wook, speaking through a translator).
“In Korea, there are some fans who are very hardcore loyal fans around this film, ‘The Handmaiden,’ this fandom has been created. This fandom has been strongly demanding that there needs to be an extended edition, anything that you have cut out, anything that you have left on the cutting room floor, we need to see. The investors they saw how well the film did at the box office and they agreed to have a extended version, and now there is one with 23 minutes of extra footage. Now, in Korea it had been available as a IPTV, pay-per-view TV in Korea as well, because there has been a phenomenal reaction to the film and the extended version that they have decided to have a limited release in a few numbers of screens in Korea even,” he said.
“…for the audience here you might be able to see it in a Blu-ray. This fandom is so enthusiastic and so excited over the film so much so that fan magazine in Korea had done an article about these fans about this phenomenon that had happened,” the director added.
If indeed the longer cut gets eventually released in North America, it will be interesting to see which portions of the story get some more padding. But don’t let the possibility of more on home video stop you from seeing it now — “The Handmaiden” is definitely a big screen experience, so if it’s playing at an arthouse near you, be sure to make the trek to check it out.