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Ko - production in Busan
  • Film location of <The Handmaiden> Steals the heart of audience
  • Jan 17, 2017
  • Film location of <The Handmaiden> Steals the heart of audience


    Park Chan-wook’s film The Handmaiden, which created a big sensation at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, weaves multiple stories of deception and lust for money and power. Lady Hideko who lost her parents as a child lives under the control of her domineering uncle. Under the cunning plan of the Count, a new maid visits lady Hideko.


    Hideko is a mysterious Japanese heiress who regularly performs erotic literature readings in her uncle’s library. She slowly falls for the seemingly innocent new handmaiden Sookhee secretly hired by the Count. I’m not sure what you wanted to say with the last sentence “The Count gradually begins to take her mind to fulfill his purpose.”.


    Besides providing a spectacular sight, the highly elaborately decorated scenes from The Handmaiden were thoroughly prepared to immerse viewers into the story.


    Rokkaen and indoor film set


    The main background of the story, also know as ”Rokkaen” meaning enlightened garden, is Hideko’s mansion located in Kuwana City, Mie Prefecture, Japan. Completed in 1913, the western style architecture and oriental styles blend harmoniously while the Japanese garden brings back the past’s atmosphere. The lobby and staircase to Hideko’s room and Gozuki, the uncle’s library, were made as a set.


    Jungang Park of National Sorokdo Hospital


    In the film, trees play an important role. They are not just part of the background, but rather help create the mood of the story. At times, trees create a beautiful scenery, at other times, they create a mysterious or even gloomy atmosphere.


    The big tree where Hideko’s aunt hung herself is a canopy tree in Jungang Park at the National Soroko Hospital. In the movie, cherry blossoms are beautifully arranged in the park. In reality, each petal was carefully prepared on the tree by the film production’s art team. This type of tree was actually planted during the Japanese colonial period. It represents today the history of the beautiful but agonizing days from this time, a perfect setting for the film.


    Byeokchoji culture Arboretum


    In the film, the scene where the Count and the maid Sookhee dispute about the secret transaction was shot at the Byeokchoji culture Arboretum in Paju. The tree’s long and condensed branches are said to be so that no one can hear one’s conversation. The street under the branches is known as Jumok Tunnel because the lines of trees seem to form a tunnel. The setting is a versatile one. With petals and berries decorating the trees, it can create a beautiful scene. However, the image with the trees as is can give a very cold image. The chilly and spooky ambiance made the perfect place for the scene.


    Anseong Poongsan Dog Village


    The “Metasequoia road” and the road to the mansion in the film are roads near the entrance to Poongsan Dog Village in Anseong, Kyunggi province. The tree-line road where “Metasequoia Road” was filmed is unknown to many people. Although it’s not wide, the rural atmosphere is suitable to recreate the ambiance of the Japanese colonial period. 



    In addition to these locations, the film was shot in a variety of places like the Pyeongchang National Forest, the Buan Byunsan Peninsula, and Sujeongdang where old and elegant beauty still holds. The Handmaiden was in part sensational because of the rich story created by the great film locations and sets in Japan and South Korea.

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