The Korean film adaptation of Sarah Waters’ bestselling Fingersmith triumphed at the British Academy Film Awards (BAFTAs) last night, along with the documentary, “I Am Not Your Negro”, based on James Baldwin’s unfinished manuscript.
James Ivory’s adaptation of 2007 novel Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman was also honoured at the BAFTA ceremony at the Royal Albert Hall in central London on Sunday evening (18th February) along with Christopher Nolan’s "Dunkirk", for which HarperCollins released a tie-in edition written by the film’s historical consultant. The BAFTAs are commonly seen as a bellwether event for the Oscars.
“The Handmaiden”, an erotic psychological thriller loosely based on Waters’ Victorian-set 2005 novel, Fingersmith, took the Film Not in the English Language award at the BAFTAs. The film’s producers Park Chan-wook and Syd Lim changed the original setting from 19th century Britain to Korea under Japanese colonial rule 1930’s in what Waters described as a “ slightly mind-boggling idea” but said it had remained true to her novel.
"I Am Not Your Negro", directed by Raoul Peck, took the best documentary prize. The 2016 US film is based on Baldwin’s unfinished manuscript, Remember This House, and explores the race relations in America. It is narrated by Samuel L Jackson. The manuscript features personal recollections of civil rights leaders Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King.
Ivory’s sumptuous film portrayal of Aciman’s coming of age novel, Call Me By Your Name (Atlantic Books), won Best Adapted Screenplay. Atlantic released a tie-in edition to coincide with the film’s release in the UK on 27th October. In total the book has sold 33,376 copies for £252,675 according to Nielsen BookScan, receiving a huge boost in early November, going from 618 copies sold to 1,164, an 88% jump in volume week on week. It has stayed above 1,000 copies a week since, peaking at 2,012 copies sold for the week ending 3rd February.
Christopher Nolan’s highly acclaimed film, "Dunkirk", also won a BAFTA for sound. The film’s historical consultant, Joshua Levine, went on to write a book adaption Dunkirk: The History Behind the Major Motion Picture (William Collins) which was published to coincide with the film's release. The story of the Dunkirk evacuation became the highest-grossing Second World War film globally and featured actors such as Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy and Mark Rylance among others. The sound team Alex Gibson, Richard King, Gregg Landaker, Gary A Rizzo and Mark Weingarten won the Best Sound award for their efforts on the film which includes little dialogue with greater focus on cinematography and music.
The night’s biggest winner was Martin McDonagh’s “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”, taking five awards including both best film and best British film.