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Accidentally blinded by her prostitute mother Rose-Ann at the age of five, Selina D'Arcey spends the next 13 years confined in the tiny Los Angeles apartment that they share with "Ole Pa", Selina's grandfather. One afternoon at the local park, Selina meets Gordon Ralfe, a thoughtful young office worker whose kind-hearted treatment of her results in her falling in love with him, unaware that he is black. They continue to meet in the park every afternoon and he teaches her how to get along in the city. But when the cruel, domineering Rose-Ann learns of their relationship, she forbids her to have anything more to do with him because he is black. Selina continues to meet Gordon despite Rose-Ann's fury, who is determined to end the relationship for good. Written by
This is a very simple story,some kind of "miracle worker" in miniature. Sidney Poitier and Elizabeth Hartman -an actress I had not noticed before- give heartfelt warm performances .Nothing spectacular,the story goes straight to the heart.
Selina is a poor girl who 's got nothing but a box of beads .Her family treats her like dirt ,and nobody cares for her ,nobody thinks about her education .She's blind ,so what's the point of sending her to school?Unlike the Keller family who poisoned Helen with protection ("Miracle Worker"),Selina's family left the poor thing to her own devices .
Enter Sidney Poitier!In 1965,the film was revolutionary:one would have expected a little blind black girl and a white schoolteacher (for instance) and it's a black man who will take care of a white young girl!Gordon displays pedagogic skills a teacher could envy.But most of all,his lessons try to teach happiness to Selina: these foolish things,such as eating a roast beef sandwich in the park,sipping pineapple juice,shopping in a supermarket ,listening to a music box and more serious things like simply learning to cross the street. Note how people but two persons are selfish when Selina is alone in the street.
As for the score ,since the beginning,it reminded me of the old French song "Il Pleut Bergère".And when Poitier began to sing the song (in a delightful French) ,I had no more doubts.This is an old song,written by Fabre D'Eglantine ,one of the revolutionaries of 1789 ;some have seen in this kiddie song a metaphor for the things to come . "Il Pleut Bergère" was a judicious choice;it goes like this.
Il PLeut Il Pleut Bergère Rentre Tes Blancs Moutons Allons Sous Ma Chaumière Bergère Vite Allons!
(It's raining,lil' shepherd girl/Bring in your flock of white sheep/let's go into my cottage /shepherd girl,let's go quickly!)
The song perfectly reflected Selina's situation.Gordon's flat is the cottage of the song.
Should not be missed if you are looking for something which is off the beaten track.
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