Imitation of Life (Douglas Sirk, 1959)

1:00 pm - 3:00 pm


Imitation of Life (Douglas Sirk, 1959)

A giant among Hollywood melodramas—perhaps the best Tinseltown ever produced—Douglas Sirk’s Imitation of Life stealthily turns a deceptively slick tearjerker into a subversive examination of race in America. Lana Turner stars as Lora, a single mother focusing on starting an acting career and raising her daughter. But as the film progresses, its heart—and Sirk’s luscious visuals—turn toward the tensions between Lora’s African American maid (the unforgettable Juanita Moore) and her mixed-race daughter (Susan Kohner, who, with Moore, was Oscar-nominated for her performance). The film also features a powerful gospel performance by Mahalia Jackson in one of the great scenes of 1950s cinema. (125 mins., 35mm)

Presented in conjunction with Cindy Sherman: Imitation of Life.

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