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Korean lesbian thriller breaks box office records

Meka Beresford June 7, 2016

Lesbian Korean thriller ‘The Handmaiden’ has broken South Korea’s box office records.

1.8 million people flocked to cinemas to see the R-rated film, directed by Park Chan-Wook, in just one week.

(Photo by VALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images)

This beats ‘Deadpool’, which previously held the record for the biggest audience, with 1.7 million people seeing it over the same period. 2015 film, ‘Inside Men’, which currently holds the record for the most viewed R-rated film, only got 1.6 million people heading to the cinema to see it in its opening week.

The success knocked the new Marvel ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ film down to number two.

Adapted from the novel ‘Fingersmith’ by Welsh writer, Sarah Waters, the film is set in Korea when the country was under Japanese colonial rule. The original novel is set in the Victorian era.

The adaptation explores themes of love, sex and theft. It stars Kim-Min Hee, a wealthy heiress, who falls in love with a pick pocket called Sook-Hee, played by Kim Tae-Ri, who is hired to seize the heiress’ fortune.

The film competed at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival for the Palme d’Or and Queer Palm awards. It received rave reviews and Ryu Seong-hie won the independent Vulcan Award for her art direction work within the film.

It also garnered attention before it’s release, as rumours spread about it becoming one of the most widely distributed Korean films in South Korea’s history. Reportedly, the film was pre-sold to 120 countries.

If true the thriller would beat out ‘Snowpiercer’ which was previously the most widely distributed Korean film.

A spokesperson for CJ entertainment, who released ‘The Handmaiden’, said: “Snowpiercer starred top global stars like Chris Evans and Tilda Swinton, which gave it more of an international appeal. So it’s doubly meaningful that ‘The Handmaiden’ attracted so many buyers in spite of the language barrier.”

Watch the trailer below:

More: Asia, Film Reviews, Korea, lesbian, LGBT, Queer, South Korea, The Handmaiden, thriller

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