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Imitation of Life

January 6, 2016, 1:30 PM


Take a second chance to see one of the “rediscoveries” from MIFF 2015!

“Melodrama.” “Tear jerker.” “Women’s picture.” These were the terms derisively hurled at director Douglas Sirk, trivializing some of the greatest films ever made. And Imitation of Life, his final film, was the greatest of all, a women’s picture indeed, about gender, class, and race that may still be ahead of its time, though it was wildly popular when it was released in 1959 — and has the ability to move and — yes! literally bring us to tears now, in this unbelievably sumptuous restoration. (Unrated, 125 min.)

The toughest-minded, most irresolvable movie ever made about race in this country. For all its reputation as a relentless tearjerker, this story of Annie (the peerless Juanita Moore), a black maid trying to hold on to a light-skinned daughter determined to pass as white, is characterized by Sirk’s deeply ironic control. That’s most apparent in Sirk’s handling of Lana Turner as Lora, Annie’s boss, the generous stage star who is nonetheless oblivious that the opportunities she takes for granted aren’t available to everyone. Annie exists in the real world Lora never really has to…. The depth and bitterness of Sirk’s irony, his refusal to provide easy answers, shames those who’d bring any less to this American masterpiece. — Charles Taylor, Village Voice.


January 6, 2016
1:30 PM


Railroad Square Cinema
17 Railroad Square
Waterville, ME
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