Notes on film: Imitation of Life

12 October 2008

“It’s a sin to be ashamed of what you are.”

Director Douglas Sirk is now recognised as one of the great masters of Hollywood cinema. His reputation as an innovative storyteller and commander of great visuals is significantly due to his final Hollywood film, Imitation of Life, which was a massive success upon its original release and is still now recognised as one of the defining examples of melodrama. As well as being visually rich in colour detail, it is a genuinely moving film and an important example of covert subversive filmmaking since it contains a very strong anti-racist message at a time when racial segregation was still very much alive in the USA. What has become Sirk’s trademark use of colour, heightened emotions and sly social critique has influenced generations of later filmmakers.

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