1. Who wrote the novel and who directed the film?
The author of The Handmaid’s Tale is Margaret Atwood. She was born in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada on November 18, 1939. She is a prominent poet, novelist, essayist, critic and environmental activist. She received her bachelor’s degree from Victoria College in Toronto, and her master’s from Radcliffe. Atwood also started, but never finished, her doctorial degree from Harvard University. She has one child, a daughter named Eleanor Jess Atwood Gibson, with fellow Canadian writer, Graeme Gibson. Atwood and Gibson are co-founders of the Writer’s Trust of Canada. Started on March 3, 1976, the Writer’s Trust is a charitable organization that gives financial assistance to struggling Canadian writers. Atwood is not only a noted novelist, but a respected poet. She has published 15 books of poetry. Margaret Atwood is famous for her science fiction novel, The Handmaid’s Tale; however Atwood describes her novels as “speculative fiction” since she writes them as plausible situations that “could really happen.” In 1987 The Handmaid’s Tale received the first Arthur C. Clark award for best science fiction of the year in the UK.
A man by the name of Volker Schlöndorff directed the 1990 film version of The Handmaid’s Tale. Born in Wiesbaden, Germany on March 31, 1939, Schlöndorff has directed more than 40 films. He graduated from College de Sorbonne and the Institut des Hautes Etudes Cinematographiques in France. His first directing job was as an assistant on Zazie in the Metro, but his debut movie was Young Törless. Schlöndorff was an extremely influential figure of New German Cinema and Young Törless is considered one of the first and most important films of the movement. Schlöndorff has also won an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film and the “Golden Palm” at the Cannes International Film Festival for his film The Tin Drum. Schlöndorff married and divorced fellow director Margarethe Von Trotta, but is currently married to Angelika Schlöndorff; they have one daughter together. Currently Volker Schlöndorff is a film and literature professor at the European Graduate School in Saas Fee, Switzerland.
2. Is the film version an effective adaptation of the novel or not? Why?
Volker Schlöndorff’s film adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale is a close adaptation in all but three key ways. The first is that the filmmakers give Offred a name. Throughout the novel Offred never reveals her real name, yet in the film her...