Friday, November 23, 2007

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Life Imitating Art, Art Imitating Life

Imitation of Life is a 1959 remake of a 1934 film. It's one of my wife's favorite films, so we recently picked it up on DVD used. She didn't expect to find it on DVD anywhere, let alone hidden in FYE's new used DVD bin for less than $7. But, I digress...

The film is about two women and their daughters -- both of which are single mothers in the 1940s...one of which is white and the other is black. They end up coming together in this oft looked over feature. It begins with the white woman, played by Lana Turner, trying to break into acting...and has to hold onto her values to avoid being dragged into the gutter by the hucksters and cheats who wish to bring her down to near prostitute status. On the other side of the coin, the black woman played by the amazing Juanita Moore, basically raises the daughter of the white woman and her own incredibly light skinned daughter...who hates that she's black. She tries to pass as white all the rest of her life, barely being able to accept her true self.

The film touches on prejudices of the past and present. It discusses such ideas that aren't always touched today with such passion and such amazing acting. These women act so convincingly that two of them were nominated for two Academy Awards. If you are interested in a classic dramatic film with amazing acting, look into this film. Try to find this gem amongst the many films that came out of this era...and uncover the magic of a dramatic work about real women.