The first rule about not being in Cannes is that you can still talk about Cannes.
Mademoiselle (Ah-ga-ssi / The Handmaiden)
Park Chan-wook follows his Hollywood cinemadventure Stoker with a “reworking” of Sarah Waters’ novel Fingersmith where 1930s Korea replaces Victorian England. A picture full of vibrancy in photography and design, and erotic electricity shimmering through the perhaps more intimate tale of two women falling in love amidst open sexual experimentation. Audiences have see-sawed between the importance of erotic, cinematic art and the apparent display of gratuitous sex – interpret as you will. But this is all beautifully conducted by Park nonetheless, this may well gloss the female sexuality over that more matt finish of the male in the narrative. Told in three parts or points of view, and often lingering, the film still runs below the two and a half hour mark.
Don’t be fooled that nobody seems to be talking about this – experimentation and unconventional make for left-field choices. If Mademoiselle slips through the net with the Palme d’or, Park can complete the trio, having previously nabbed a Grand Prize (Old Boy) and a Jury Prize (Thirst). A dark horse.