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”

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”

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”

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”