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CANNES, France (AP) — Director Park Chan-wook is defending his use of elaborate lesbian sex scenes in his erotic thriller “The Handmaiden,” saying that avoiding them would be like “a war film without battle scenes.”

The film, adapted from the Welsh novel “Fingersmith,” is the tale of a young maid who is hired to seduce a rich heiress, only to fall in love with her. Together the two women plot their revenge on the men who tried to destroy them.

“Although it is the story of four people, two men and two women, it is clear that the love between these two women is the key element of the film. In the portrayal of this love, emotions and desire, there’s no way around avoiding the act that arises from such raw emotion and desire,” the South Korean director said Sunday at the Cannes Film Festival. “I think avoiding it would be odd, like a war film without battle scenes.”

Park, whose 2003 film “Oldboy” won the Grand Prix award, is getting a lot of attention this time for the bedroom scenes but he hopes audiences will eventually embrace more than those moments.

“That’s something that weighs on my mind but I can’t stop doing what I needed to do. It might be the focus now but a film is made to last a long time, so it will overcome that,” he said.