Wednesday, December 21, 2016

BOOK VS MOVIE: Fingersmith/The Handmaiden

There's always something dark lurking beneath composed demeanors. A warm smile can mask a cruel heart, Pure evil could be hiding behind the face of someone you trust.

It's worth mentioning that it's usually men that are cast in such a light. But who's to say those of the fairer sex have souls as pure as fresh-fallen snow? As we've seen with the likes of Gone Girl, they aren't all sugar, spice and everything nice. To quote Jane Austen's Persuasion, we none of us expect to be in smooth waters all our days.

Sarah Waters' Fingersmith follows such a woman, a petty thief coerced into becoming the maid for a wealthy heiress. What at first appears as a scheme to make off with the heiress' fortune slowly evolves into something much more deceptive in nature. (And if you're familiar with Waters' other work, you know what one thing will be expected.)

Updating the setting from Victorian Britain to 1930s Korea, Park Chan-wook's The Handmaiden stays mostly true to Waters' novel. But how Park depicts the women's bond makes it clear that a straight man is at the helm. (Haven't we learned anything from the behind the scenes drama of Blue is the Warmest Color?)

It's clear that Waters and Park have different perspectives for the same story (Waters more diabolical, Park more sensual) but which of the two works is better overall? Both are sympathetic towards the women's connection (especially considering the time periods they're set in) but only more so with just one, which is the victor of the two.

What's worth checking out?: The book.

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