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Illusions depicts a fictional 1940s Hollywood studio and defines film as a powerful historian, however, one that omits many cultures from its history. The protagonist Mignon Dupree expresses the need for "films that give the public situations and characters that they can recognize as part of their own lives." Illusions is a candidly self-aware film because it takes place in a fictional studio, and its characters discuss Hollywood's film production directly. The films title refers to the faults in cinemas portrayal of reality. Furthermore, Illusions also points to its own artificiality, identifying itself as a film object. Illusions features two invisible blacks: Mignon Dupree, invisible as an African American studio executive passing for white, and Esther Jeeter, as the invisible singer hired to dub the singing parts for white film star Leila Grant.
Self-reflexive films identify themselves as cinematic objects by calling attention to the filmmaking process. Using editing techniques ...