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I was lucky to view this film in class with decent sound. From what I understand, most the sound is barely audible on most prints. Sad, because Illusions is an example of race that is not often seen in the media. One of the few other examples I can think of is Alex Haley's Queen, but that took place over a hundred years ago, whereas Illusions is slightly more modern (and therefore hits closer to home), having taken place during WW2. But the issue of "passing" for the majority is not something the majority often thinks about, and I feel that many of my classmates were quite surprised by this film. That's a good thing though.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Julie Dash's film Illusions was recognized as the best film of the
1980s by the Black Filmmakers Foundation. In it, Dash exposes and
challenges the traditional structures of white Hollywood. She depicts
how the contributions of African Americans to the heritage of film have
been censored, destroyed, hidden, and otherwise erased from both public
memory and tangible record. In the story, a female movie studio
executive, Mignon Dupree, is assigned the arduous task of uniting the
picture and sound portions of a musical motion picture that is slipping
into disrepair. Unbeknownst to the other members of the studio, Dupree
is black. However, when a black singer is hired to provide the vocals
for the image of the white woman who is to be the starlet of the film,
Dupree's heritage risks being unveiled. Nonetheless, the two black
women bond together and support each other towards mutual gain.
by Jennifer Rachelburns Arntzen, Derek Eby, Michelle Lee, and Maxim Rivkin.
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