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The Handmaid’s Tale (2010 adaptation: Getting Tail)

2009 March 25
by Baibh Cathba

Thought that this might be a bit too long to be a comment, and I’m probably going to miss class because I’m barfy… er… hope that’s not TMI or oversharing…

Starting with this Alternate Cover for The Handmaid’s Tale and the Movie from 1990, one can see the focus on sex and “the forbidden”. Thus, any movie for the Handmaid’s Tale in the future would most likely also try for the sexual aspect of production. Simply being that sex sells. (As stated in class, red is the color of an apple, the original sin: temptation borne of eve. It is seductive, poisonous, dangerous, and hungry. It represents warmth and passion. It’s the perfect color for women who are supposed to be whorish, yet pure. It brings up the ultimate dichotomy regarding the view of women: The Madonna or Jezebel.)

The biggest problem (as stated by SarahLeia) seems to be the focus of the movie, and where to bring the most attention. I agree that by trying to “stick to the plot” of the original story as printed in a book makes the attention span blast outwards in a riotous confusion of paths to follow. I agree with previous statements that the 1990 version gets a little off the message of the book (as well as being a waste of time), as was evidenced by the Photo of the cover that Anne showed us in class on Monday (see the image in Class Notes from day 16).

It would probably fit today’s “feel” if the 2010 movie adaptation were “Indie”. The cast cannot be big name, the characters have to stand on their own merit, as ordinary people. Pffft, I’d like to see Angelina Jolie try to play Offred. ;P It’d probably be awesome to do something like… the movie Memento. Instead of a straight storyline that marches into plot, it’d be interesting to see it in the order of the book, or perhaps even more out of order; a “snapshot” type way of looking at the movie. I think modern music would also add a jarring sense of reality to it rather than an “old timey” score as was reaching a crescendo in the bg of the 1990 version. The costumes should be what comes from our modern-day styles, then insidiously change into something more constricting that loses the sleek shapes of fashion. (I’m imagining something that constricts like this: dress, or perhaps this Qipao without the leg slits in order to prevent freedom of movement.) Eventually the women add more and more layers till they become buried in hoops and crinoline! AHAHAHAHA! Perhaps slowly form tuxedos into uniforms for the guys (Cause it would be cool at first, like, “dude I gots a gun! And I’m like the James Bond of awesome” and then slowly be like, “why can’t I use this tie as a noose”)? Hmmm… this dressing up might be my favorite part actually (Shoutout to DC in the name of fashion!). I think it would be absolutely insidious to film in a suburb somewhere. Even better, start at a school (they’re already in uniform) and then indoctrinate ’em while they’re still young! (er… is this inching more towards a horror film?) Soon they’d be all “omg! join usssssssss“, and it’d be a creep factory of awesome!

One Response
  1. Natasha permalink
    March 25, 2009

    Cool, thanks for all the pictures, it made it really fun reading the post! Yep good idea about keeping the sequence of the film to be non-chronological like the book. That’s something I was also thinking of during class discussion. When we discussed book –> movie transformations in general, often (not always) the directors change a non-chronological to a chronological format.

    That in itself is a big change, turning something where the reader (or viewer) has a lot of discovery to do to something which is, as discussed, pretty much laid out for you (ideas are often more explicit and less open to interpretation as we discussed, and plot proceeds linearly and more obviously); in books, the reader’s often a bit confused at the beginning, which leads to curiosity to learn more, which in turn leads to reading on and figuring out concepts for oneself. This is lacking a bit in linear movies, though there are other ways to cause curiosity & learning.

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