In advance of its North American premiere this Monday night at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival, the Hollywood Reporter reports that Dangerous Liaisons, Korean director Hur Jin-ho's Chinese-language adaptation of Pierre Choderlos de Laclos' classic French novel, has been picked up for U.S. distribution by Well Go USA. Hur's version of this oft-told tale, this time set in 1930's Shanghai, stars Zhang Ziyi, Jang Dong-gun, and Cecilia Cheung in the principal roles. It had its world premiere at this year's Directors' Fortnight in Cannes, where it received generally very good reviews.
Dangerous Liaisons has proved over the years to be very attractive cinematic red meat for directors wishing to make sexy costume dramas with good-looking stars. Two of the most well-known versions are Stephen Frears' 1988 adaptation and Milos Forman's 1989 film Valmont. The story was also given a modern update in 1999 as Cruel Intentions. Asia has gotten into the game as well; Korean director E J-yong delivered an excellent version, 2003's Untold Scandal, set in 18th century Chosun Korea.
Dangerous Liaisons represents a significant departure for Hur Jin-ho, to my mind one of Korea's finest directors. He is known for much smaller-scale, more intimate, sensitively directed films such as Christmas in August (incidentally, the film that first got me interested in Korean cinema), One Fine Spring Day, and Happiness. Dangerous Liaisons is Hur's second film set in China; his 2009 film A Good Rain Knows was filmed in Chengdu after the 2008 earthquake.
No release date has yet been set; we'll keep you informed as more details on this emerge.