The Handmaiden

Rashomon is the warmest colour. Surprisingly, this is based on a British novel which had already been adapted by the BBC starring Sally Hawkins and Imelda Staunton.

Like Rashomon, this is the same story shown twice from opposing perspectives, then an epilogue to tie up loose ends. It pulls several double switcheroos, a complete rollercoaster ride.

A loose collective of scammers and grifters finds a perfect mark to extract the proceeds of an entire gold mine. There is the fake Count, trying to seduce the heiress into eloping to Japan to marry and dump her in a psychiatric institution, helped by the naïve handmaiden, who should nudge her into the arms of the Count.

Things do not go as planned when the handmaiden gets fresh with the lady, and starts having second thoughts about the whole affair. She goes ahead with the plan, begrudgingly.

But wait, not all is what it seems. The lady is not so naïve as they thought, discovers the scams and counter-scams back. The fake Count is now the target, with complex deals that reach the old loose collective.

You see, the heiress was the owner of the dough, but she lived with an uncle, grooming her for marriage soon. He is a great smut collector, particularly the old stuff like The Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife and the like. The heiress read those tales for the inner sanctum of porn-obsessed high rollers, having that role being passed on from her aunt. Said aunt killed herself, or at least that’s what her husband wanted her to think.

Before leaving the manor for good, the heiress and the handmaiden still have time to trash the porn stash like maniacs.

After they all run away and get married in secret, the Count is lightly poisoned with opium so that the woman can run away to China, attaining their freedom. The count is captured and tortured by the uncle, and manages to poison them both with weird cigarettes he kept for this purpose. There’s a big tank with a massive octopus that remains unused, sadly.


This is my place for ramblings about sequences of images that exploit the human visual limitation know as persistence of vision.

Ephemera of Vision