The Handmaiden shown at the London Film Festival

The cinematic adaptation of Sarah Waters’s award-winning novel, FINGERSMITH, screened at the 2016 BFI London Film Festival in October.

In The Handmaiden, director Park Chan-wook relocates Waters’s tale from Victorian England, to 1930s colonial Korea, but retains much of the original’s grit. The viewer follows the travails of pickpocket-cum-handmaid, Sook-hee, and heiress, Lady Hideko, in a highly intricate plot framed by longing, deception and repression. The New Yorker contributing writer, Jia Tolentino, praised Chan-wook on being “faithful to the deepest motivations of Waters’s novel“; and Matt Zoller Seitz, Editor-in-Chief of, described The Handmaiden “as inspiring an example of East-West cross-pollination as cinema has given us“.

The Handmaiden premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2016 – where it was nominated for a Palme d’Or – and is scheduled for UK general release in April 2017.