by Jim Ridley
Margaret Atwood's visit to Nashville climaxes with her public appearance Oct. 27, where she'll discuss her 1985 dystopian novel The Handmaid's Tale — a bleak depiction of an oppressive future where totalitarian theocrats reduce women to breeding machines. But the patriarchal subjugation doesn't have to end there. The next day, Sunday, Oct. 28, The Belcourt and Humanities Tennessee offer a rare screening of The Tin Drum director Volker Schlondorff's 1990 film version of The Handmaid's Tale, scripted by Harold Pinter and starring the late Natasha Richardson, Robert Duvall and Faye Dunaway.
From the release:
Based on Margaret Atwood's book of the same title, the nether-future America of The Handmaid's Tale, has been crippled by pollution, toxic waste, war, and disease, and religious tyranny has maimed the society. "Family values" has run amok. Child-rearing in America — now renamed the Republic of Gilead — has come to stand not just for the physical survival of the society, but for the embrace of an extremely fundamentalist ideology. The Republic of Gilead has become a breeder state. Kate (Natasha Richardson) tries to escape, and is punished by being made a Handmaid. It is to her gendered lot in life to manufacture the babies who will guarantee the future of Gilead. And it becomes her purpose as a human being to escape this fate. In light of the recent, real life controversy that introduced the term "legitimate rape" into an American lexicon already employing "date rape," Atwood's book and this not-so-subtle film adaptation still holds resonance.
Steve Haruch, the Scene's culture and special sections editor, will moderate a post-film panel discussion featuring Betsy Phillips, author and political commentator at the Scene's Pith in the Wind blog; Sarah Brown, film critic for Native magazine; and Chet Weise, writer, adjunct professor at MTSU and founder of the "Poetry Sucks!" reading series. Advance tickets are available here. Below, the movie's trailer.