Imitation of Life by Douglas Sirk (1959, United States) was Sirk’s final Hollywood film and it dealt with issues of race, class and gender. The film is an adaptation of Fannie Hurst‘s novel, Imitation of life. It is the second film adaptation of the novel. The first film was released in 1934. (Wikipedia, Imitation of life)
The film is about a struggling young actress with a six-year-old daughter who sets up housekeeping with a homeless black widow and her light-skinned eight-year-old daughter who rejects her by trying to pass for a white. (IMDb)
In the film Sirk provided the Annie–Sarah Jane relationship in his version with more screen time and more intensity than the original versions of the story, and critics like Stephen Handzo later commented that Juanita Moore and Susan Kohner stole the film from Turner.
Sirk later said that he had deliberately and subversively undercut Turner to draw focus toward the problems of the two black characters.
I understood Sarah Jane’s plight and pain as someone who just wanted to be normal but can’t because of her color, something she cannot choose since birth. The will and desire to be normal or even accepted is something extremely universal. Parents are also a nuisance sometimes although it might in not be in Imitation of Life’s context, of Annie, but I feel for Sarah Jane although her ignorance and determination eventually led to her mum’s demise. Because of this, I have decided to write a poem that assumes Sarah Jane’s perspective and journey in the film.
Keeping you at bay
To find a place I’ll fit right
I run day and night
I will lie for life
For I am not colour’s slave
I’m still young I’ll fight
Stop following me
Because I don’t need your heart
I just need freedom
By letting me be
I’ll be another person
Someone I love more than me.
About the author: Germaine Lim is a fervent writer, hairstylist and someone who needs to learn to stop crying over fictional characters.
IMDb. Imitation of Life (1959) [online] Available at: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0052918/ [Accessed: 20 Jun 2013].
En.wikipedia.org. Imitation of Life (1959 film) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia [online] Available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imitation_of_Life_(1959_film) [Accessed: 20 Jun 2013]
Bright Lights Film Journal. Bright Lights Film Journal [online] Available at: http://brightlightsfilm.com/18/18_lana.php [Accessed: 24 Jun 2013].