The Handmaid vs the Handmaiden

10 05 2016

Inspired by the electrifying and very Tanizaki-esque trailer for Chan Park Wook’s forthcoming “Handmaiden”, my boyfriend started listening to an audio version of the book it was based on, Margaret Atwood’s “Handmaid’s Tale”. Except that it wasn’t.

It turns out to have been a mistake. The new “Handmaiden” movie is based on an entirely different book, “The Fingersmith” by Sarah Waters. The only connection with Atwood’s “Handmaiden” is the title – which is perhaps why I was wondering how the director was planning to transfer a dystopian book about sexual relations in an America re-imagined as a theocratic state into 1930s Korea!

It turns out though that it was a happy accident. The “Handmaid’s Tale” enthralled me completely with its brilliant writing, and bleak and disturbing tale of a “handmaiden” or sex slave/surrogate in a society where women are divided up into prim society wives, sexual playthings, childbirth vessels or domestic drudges.

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I can only hope the movie will be  – if completely different – just as good.

 

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