London Film Festival: The Handmaiden & Park Chan-wook Screen Talk

The London Film Festival ran from the 5-16 October, showcasing new films from all over the world. I remember looking through the program and being excited to see 'The Handmaiden', the newest film by one of my favourite directors Park Chan-wook. I was excited to see it ever since I saw the first trailer. It didn't give away much, especially not the many twists in the story, but it still captured me with the beautiful yet dark shots. It's adapted from the novel 'The Fingersmith' by Sarah Waters but the setting is changed from Victorian England to 1930s Japanese occupied Korea. I haven't read the novel so I can't compare it to the source material, but it is an amazing movie. To be honest, I  watched a fan subbed version of it online over summer but I knew it wouldn't compare to seeing it properly on a big screen. 

The screening was at a new pop up cinema created especially for the festival at Victoria Embankment Gardens. Before the movie started, one of the festival programmers came out to introduce the movie and also announced that extra tickets were being released to a screen talk with Park Chan-wook later that day. I was excited and also very determined to get one of these tickets. By the time I had found out about the talk a few weeks ago, tickets had already sold out. However, I held on to the hope that last minute tickets might be released. After the movie, I went to the box office to see if I could purchase tickets for the screen talk from there (as it was at another venue so I wasn't sure.) Fortunately I could, and even better, I was able to buy a ticket for a seat in the middle of the second row. For someone who thought their hopes of getting a ticket was slightly optimistic, this was great.

The venue the talk was taking place at was the Curzon cinema in Soho which wasn't too far away. I took my time walking through the area and then got something to eat before making my way there. I was very satisfied with how close to the stage my seat was, as you can see in the picture above. I had a very clear view of Park Chan-wook, his translator, and the interviewer. I didn't take any pictures during the talk because I wasn't sure if you were allowed to (but I saw other people doing it at the end), and I was also just very absorbed in the things that were being said.

Unfortunately the interviewers questions ran slightly over so only one audience question was allowed at the end. But a lot of interesting topics were covered throughout the talk such as Park Chan-wook writing a review for his own first movie under a fake name, how his religious upbringing has influenced his film making, and fans asking him to sign hammers after 'Oldboy.'

It was a great talk and I'm very glad that I got to see it. If you are interested, you can watch it here: http://www.bfi.org.uk/films-tv-people/57fe593cd9402

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