|LSC Classics Presents:
The Handmaid's Tale (1990)
April 2, 2004 at 7:30 and 10:30pm in 10-250.
Set in a time when a buildup of toxic chemicals has made most people sterile,
Volker Schlondorff's film offers a disturbing view of a society under martial
law in which fertile women are captured and made into handmaids to bear
children for rich and infertile matrons. The film unfolds from the eyes of
newly converted handmaid Kate (Natasha Richardson). She is trapped in this
mysogynistic society which both deifies these fertile women as prized
possessions and condemns them as whores. Throughout the story Kate has to cope
with the jealousy of the woman she serves (Faye Dunaway), the advances of her
sleazy military husband (the Commander, played by Robert Duvall), and the loss
of her daughter, who has been shuttled off to a similarly aristocratic setting.
She also falls in love with one of the Commander's security guards (Aidan
Quinn), who sympathizes with her plight and potentially offers her a way out.
Throughout The Handmaid's Tale, issues of feminism, abortion rights, male
dominance, and conservative religious politics all come under fire. Some may
view the film itself as antifemale considering its concepts, but it is quite
the opposite. Instead it shows how only through solidarity can women bring down
an overriding patriarchal mindset. The film, which works from Harold Pinter's
screenplay adaption of Margaret Atwood's novel, features strong performances
from those mentioned as well as Elizabeth McGovern and Victoria Tennant.
Sponsored by the Office of the Arts, Special programs.