Pandemics, Posthumanism and Potentiality: Neasa Hardiman’s Sea Fever

Sara Ahmed[1] argues that institutions often attach failure to the individuals failed by them; the minoritised complainant who speaks out against discrimination is labelled as the cause and source of the problem. In order to maintain post-racial mythology (and elide the decolonising gaze), the complainant is stigmatised, silenced and excluded. Such conditions of social membershipContinue reading “Pandemics, Posthumanism and Potentiality: Neasa Hardiman’s Sea Fever”

Forgotten Filmmakers: Kathleen Collins’s Losing Ground

One of the first feature films by an African-American woman is Kathleen Collins’s 1982 masterpiece Losing Ground. The film is unique in many respects, not least for its centralisation of the black bourgeoisie. Losing Ground is a rare example of a feminist film focused on a complex, intellectual and reserved black female protagonist. Through itsContinue reading “Forgotten Filmmakers: Kathleen Collins’s Losing Ground”

New Black Horror: Get Out

Recent shifts towards populist, xenophobic politics have broken the ‘post-race’ illusion and made it painfully clear that we still live in racialised realities. As Michael Omi notes, race is still ‘a fundamental organising principle of individual identity and collective action’ (1996: 179). In particular, the events of 2020 led to a mainstream acknowledgement that raceContinue reading “New Black Horror: Get Out”

Mixed-Race Melodrama: Métisse

Métisse [Mixed-Race] (Kassovitz, France, 1993) adheres to the ethics of beur cinema by reimagining the French nuclear family as black, mixed and white through its central characters.  As a pioneering work it is flawed but, by directly engaging with issues of race, class, gender and sexuality, the film challenges the culturally embedded assumptions of itsContinue reading “Mixed-Race Melodrama: Métisse”

Race as Performance: Dear White People

University-set Dear White People (Simien, USA, 2014) exploits a familiar trope by dealing with racial politics through the mixed female body. Sam White (Tessa Thompson) is a media student in love with white Gabe (Justin Dobies), dating black Reggie (Marque Richardson), and ashamed of her mixed identity. In order to fit in with the blackContinue reading “Race as Performance: Dear White People”

Racial Passing in the Classic Hollywood Melodrama

The classic Hollywood mixed female ‘passer’ is generally male-dependent and gripped by fear that her lover/boss/maid will discover her secret and ruin her.  The endurance of this template is evidenced by the deadly desperation of mixed protagonists in Perfect Stranger, The Crying Game and Devil in a Blue Dress.  In I Passed for White (Wilcox,Continue reading “Racial Passing in the Classic Hollywood Melodrama”

Josephine Baker’s French Films

American entertainer Josephine Baker was the first multigenerational mixed actress to grace French cinema screens in the 1920s and quickly became a star.  Baker’s life and art reflected her multiplicity.[1]  She started off in vaudeville in New York where she achieved success but faced limitations as a designated black woman. Having left the States toContinue reading “Josephine Baker’s French Films”

The Black British Period Drama

This blog explores mixed-race representations in British period dramas Belle (Asante, 2013) and Wuthering Heights (Arnold, 2011). Both are written and directed by women – in Belle’s case a Black-British woman – and both star mixed-race actors: in Wuthering Heights Solomon Glave and James Howson play Heathcliff as, respectively, child and adult, while Gugu Mbatha-RawContinue reading “The Black British Period Drama”