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Following a coup, America is a country still at war with itself and ruled by a repressive Bible-inspired regime. Past pollution means only 1% of women can bear children, and female criminals found to be potential mothers are put into an institution run by ‘Aunt Lydia’ to be indoctrinated. One such is Kate, who then seduces Fred, a higher-up in the security forces, to attempt to procreate. Fred’s wife Serena, is jealous and vicious, and the State’s grip seems to be tightening. But Kate still has her own mind, and is finding that someother people are prepared to resist.
Set in the Republic of Gilead, a fictional state under military dictatorship, this film portrays a controlled and anti-intellectual society in which colleges are closed, popular music, books, and pornography are prohibited, and homosexuals are to be declared ‘Gender Traitors’. The critical issue in this republic is that of a population cliff - Gilead is a world where children have disappeared. In this world, women of childbearing age exist only to breed, as property subservient to men, and they wear clothes of different colors: red for the handmaid surrogate class, blue for commander’s wives, green for housekeeping, and black for widows. The protagonist of this film is Offred, which means “of Fred”, or “belongs to Fred.” She falls in love with a subordinate of her husband, and escapes from Gilead to prepare for the delivery of their child.
Unlike ATWOOD’s original novel, the film ends in a romantic mood. The role of the feminist mother, and Moira, one of Offred’s friends, is either reduced or deleted. There is no mention of ‘The Underground Femaleroad’, a feminist resistance group. The most intense part in the novel is the garden of Serena JOY, a commander\'s wife. Like the beautiful, blooming flowers and their aroma, women\'s desire and pleasure is treated as something obscene, to be controlled and repressed. If you want to take a good look at the oppressive, patriarchal dystopia, it is recommendable to read ATWOOD’s original novel, as this film is almost like a trailer version. (Sunah KIM)
Volker SCHLÖNDORFFVolker SCHLÖNDORFF
The director, Volker SCHLÖNDORFF is a German filmmaker who was a member of the New German Cinema. He has adapted many literary works for the screen including Günter GRASS\'s The Tin Drum, Heinrich BÖLL\'s The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum, Arthur MILLER\'s Death of a Salesman, Marcel PROUST\'s Swann in Love, and Ernest J. GAINES\'s A Gathering of Old Men.