Our Pledge To You

News

Today at Chicago International Film Festival: ‘The Handmaiden’

Kim Tae-ri (left) and Kim Min-hee in "The Handmaiden."

The Chicago International Film Festival continues through Thursday at AMC River East 21, 322 E. Illinois.

I like caper films with a twist wherein impostors trick other impostors. Deceivers and viewers alike are deceived. “The Handmaiden” is 145 minutes of clever, erotic entertainment.

Korean director Park Chan-wook (“Oldboy,” “Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance”) sets up a three-part caper: A fake count and rare book forger (Ha Jung-woo) plants illiterate orphan and petty thief Sookee (Kim Tae-ri) in the employ of heiress Lady Hideko (Kim Min-hee). A marriage and a mental hospital figure in the plot.

Park drew on Emile Zola’s 1867 novel “Therese Raquin” for his audacious 2009 film “Thirst.” Now he cites Sarah Waters’ 2002 novel “Fingersmith” that draws on an English history of 1770-1868 public hangings and a 1910 memoir about “17 weeks’ detention in a private asylum.” Waters’ doctor tells a patient: “You have been encouraged to overindulge yourself in literature; and have inflamed your organs of fancy.” By all means, inflame yourself. 8:15 p.m. Oct. 23