Trailer of the Day: Imitation of Life

Imitation of Life

Based on Fannie Hurst’s best-selling novel about race, gender, and materialism in 1950s America, Sirk’s IMITATION OF LIFE is high studio melodrama with a capital “M” and was also the inspiration for Todd Haynes’s style homage FAR FROM HEAVEN. Two mothers discover that success is not necessarily the key to happiness, particularly when it comes between a mother and her child. Actress Lora Meredith (Lana Turner in an all-out performance) claws her way to stardom only to realize that the daughter (Sandra Dee) she has neglected for years is now a stranger to her and, painfully, her rival for the love of a younger man (John Gavin). At the same time, her loyal African-American housekeeper/de facto nanny (Juanita Moore) finds herself rejected by her own light-skinned daughter (Susan Kohner) who struggles to pass for white. “I tried to make it into a picture of social consciousness—not only of a white social consciousness but of a Negro one too. Both white and black are leading imitated lives.”—Douglas Sirk (125 mins.)

At 2 p.m., prior to the screening, Singaporean media artist Ming Wong will do a live performance and artist talk at the University of Oregon’s White Stag Block via Skype to complement his two-city exhibition “Emotion Pictures,” on view at the White Box Gallery and the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art in Eugene. Wong’s performance will play off his installation “Life of Imitation,” inspired by the film.

Co-sponsored by the White Box Gallery and the University of Oregon’s Cinema Pacific Film Festival.

IMITATION OF LIFE screens on Sunday, April 21 at 4p.m. in our Whitsell Auditorium (located in the Portland Art Museum).

Advanced tickets are available for purchase here.

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