Friday, January 02, 2009

2009's Color Is Purple

The Color Purple is not only an outstanding novel written by Alice Walker, but it was also adapted to an equally riveting cinema masterpiece with Quincy Jones and Steven Spielberg at the helm.

The movie could easily be incorporated into any contemporary film course with its strong symbolism coupled with the in-estinquishly raw acting talent which moved us throughout the story of Celie, a young African American girl who reclaims her dignity after a lifetime of living without.

With it's stunningly simple yet poignant cinematography, this film could easily be used in any film or acting course. Though reeling in 11 Academy Award nominations in its release in the mid 1980's, none of the cast members walked away with an Oscar.

A bit more light-hearted than the novel, Color is one of the most powerful films which I have ever experienced with its brutal portrayal worst the worst side of African American men while bringing to light the depth and beauty of the African American woman. An age old tale which could have been told with an all white cast or an all Asian cast, but it was told with African American cast, one of the first of its kind for this type of drama on such a large scale.

The film was littered with a myriad of colorfully developed characters, complete with gender specific roles, according to the period of the piece. Whites were characterized as unknowingly uppity with an urgent sense of entitlement and African American men were typified as the either the lazy go lucky vagabond or an unyielding abusive force to be reckoned. The latter dominated the Ora of the film, with very few exceptions, and as I watched the film for the umpteenth time throughout my life on New Year's Day, I realized that it was this portrayal of African American life which helped to shape my sense of what not to become as I matured.

Conversely, it was the colorful and unexpectedly delightful portrayal of the inner depths of which an African American female soul can reach which opened my eyes even more, bringing out a world of unknown thoughts and emotions.

The dichotic relation of Shug, an outspoken, vibrantly marked peacocked harlequin and Celie, a inwardly drawn soul, showed that knowing one could help the other find their true inner beauty. Not only that, the bruit strength of Sophia rounded out the full repertoire of what the African American female mind and should was capable of becoming.

These strong willed characters, coupled with the many supporting female roles taught me about self worth, the importance of forgiveness and how the the beauty of love is stronger than any one thing imaginable.

Watching this movie on New Year's Day, a day when most are either analyzing their mistakes/accomplishments of the past year or resoluting lofty goals for the upcoming year, I found that it was to my benefit to not do either but reflect on the ways in which the aforementioned film shaped my thoughts and guided my dreams over the years, and hopefully to lead towards a future which I will never regret.

Happy New Year!

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