Am Strand von Coney Island lernt die Schauspielerin Lora die farbige Annie kennen und engagiert sie als Haushälterin. Beide haben Probleme mit ihren Töchtern: Suzie fühlt sich von ihrer karrierebesessenen Mutter vernachlässigt und Sarah Jane gibt sich wegen ihrer hellen Hautfarbe als Weiße aus.
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In Imitation of Life (1959), though the most piercing of all Sirk’s mirror shots is of a despairing Sarah Jane and Annie in their indelible last meeting in a dressing room, Sirk stages, composes, and edits most of the scene for direct emotional effect.
Sirk closed the 1950s — and his feature-filmmaking career — with Imitation of Life (1959), his most commercially successful movie. Its themes of mother-daughter love and abandonment, shame, and racial injustice provoked in many viewers at the time an endless flow of tears and can still bring on the waterworks today. I can’t recommend this or any of Sirk’s melodramas highly enough, whether for first-time or repeat viewers.
Early in IMITATION OF LIFE, Lana Turner’s character says, “Maybe I should see things as they really are and not the way I want them to be.” Oh, the irony. In Douglas Sirk’s films, however, it doesn’t so much burn as blaze—so fiercely, in fact, that it’s not difficult to understand how the irony and subversiveness for which Sirk is known among the cinephile crowd was lost on popular audiences at the time.
A femme epic that does not sacrifice its singular style for purposes of, I dunno, masculine boredom. Great blocking, editing. And some of the best cinematography of the 50's: sort of encapsulates the word "brooding." Lifts tricks from noir, expressionism, and erases the more sadomasochistic qualities of those genres - though many would say they were always melodrama.
Superb. The template Sirk created was inspiration to R.W. Fassbinder, and now Todd Haynes. One can only wonder what Sirk would have produced had he not been working within the constraints of mid-century Hollywood, the Hays Code, and the stiff limitations that defined Hollywood "acting" in that era, and had he had the kind of actors and creative freedom given to Fassbinder and Haynes.
One of the best films about how racism and a racist society affects black people's self worth. Beautifully melodramatic and the sets/costumes are to die for. The ending is one of the saddest movie scenes ever.
Never in my life have I been so moved in a theater as when I watched this film. Yes, I cried. No, I was not the only one. Sirk's best film, because it goes beyond insightful social commentary, of which there is plenty here, to transform by the movie's end into a harrowing emotional experience.