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36 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
Gerima 1993
Spielberg 1997
In America
Sheridan 2002
King Kong
Shoedsack and Cooper 1933
The Jazz Singer
Crosland 1927
The Littlest Colonel and the Littlest Rebel
Butler, 1935
The Phallic Camera
Mona is shown provocatively, undulating her body in front of the white photographer while she moans. Man directs the scene his way.
Middle Passage
The Middle Passage was the longest, hardest, most dangerous, and also most horrific part of the journey of the slave ships. With extremely tightly packed loads of human cargo that stank and carried both infectious disease and death, the ships would travel east to west across the Atlantic on a miserable voyage lasting at least five weeks, and sometimes as long as three months. Although incredibly profitable for both its participants and their investing backers, the terrible Middle Passage has come to represent the ultimate in human misery and suffering.
“The Light” and Yamba’s Self-Conversion
Somehow, Yamba teaches himself the Bible and religion without being able to read the word. He says that a “light” always follows Christ, which also helps to mark blackness.
The Politics of Subtitling
Amistad denies the agency of the slaves, portraying them as bystanders, while good and bad whites argue among themselves about whether to make them free. Most of the time the slaves are not even subtitled, so we do not know what they are talking about. When the Spaniards talk, they are given subtitles.
Ridicule of the Abolitionists
The blacks ridicule the abolitionists. They are portrayed as zealots, fanatics, and true believers. “they’re entertainers” “why do they look so miserable?”
Amistad Conclusion: Enslaved blacks as “futureless”; Americans as “having a future
The lack of agency for blacks is worsened by the fact that the conclusion of the movie is about the white patriarchal freeing of the slaves. Instead of focusing on the revolution, it gives the whites credit and shows that they have a future.
Amistad use of omitted plots
Africans are seen as having no agency. Their uprising took less than 5 minutes and was portrayed as unplanned and chaotic, almost like a riot.
Amistad Improbable Black Bodies
Do black bodies suffer? Do they face the consequences of suffering? What do they look like? Their suffering, thinking, and planning are ommited and replaced with brute strength because whites do not want to see a suffering black body.
Mateo as Black Magus or Saint
Mateo’s suffering is not in vain because it will be a rebirth for the white family and a prop to their Americanization. His death is juxtaposed with the birth of the family’s new son.
Interpretation of King Kong
King Kong is presumably an imaginary voyage in search of a giant ape in darkest Africa but it actual gives us a fairly accurate portrayal of the mercenary mentality that led white men to kidnap, not giant apes, but millions of black people from Africa.
The realization that filmic codes describe an interrelationship between images. The replacement of history with an ideology of elevation or demotion along a scale of human value.
Ommited Plots
exclusion by reversals, distortion, or some other form of censorship.
Surplus Repression and the Monstrous
Whites contain sexual desires to blacks by conveying them as monsters
Marking Blacks
Showing blackness repeatedly almost as if to force the viewer to recognize the images difference from white images. White person w/ white glove = efficiency. Black person = racial inferiority. “white” is defined as being “not black.” Must include many blacks to guarantee contrast.
Blackness Captured
What happens when savages are brought back to civilization for profit?
Anne as Endangered Woman
Darrow has more in common with Kong than it seems at first. If Kong objectified blackness (beastliness), then the girl is objectified beauty—both are freed from a lowly state, but then must serve Denham’s design. They only exist to satisfy the male viewer’s active and erotic look.
Anne as a character “to-be-looked-at”-
For Denham, the value of the beast and the girl lies only in their juxtaposition, a combination based upon pre-exisisting sexual and visual conventions in Western iconography. Just as Kong and the natives are coded for their blackness, the woman is coded for strong visual impact so that she can be said to connote to-be-looked-at-ness.
Blackface’s role in the Gentile/Jew vs. Black/White dichotomies
Blackface allows Jolson to disguise one minority with another. Initially, he is a jewish man. When he puts on blackface, he is a white man in blackface. When he takes the blackface off again, he is just a white man. It is a process of removing his Jewishness.
Kol Nidre
The Jewish plea for forgiveness.
The Warners and George Jessel vs. Al Jolson for Jakie/Jake role
Jessel squabbled over money, but the more likely reason why he was removed in favor of Jolson was because he was “too Jewish” for the role.
Sally Anne’s tongue-tied behavior
Sally Ann gives Shirley a handmade present for her birthday but get tonguetied at the idea of wishing Shirley “happy birthday.” This extreme self-effacement and awe on the part of the taller, older black girl, augments Shirley’s mythic stature as the figure of leisure and beauty for whom blacks must work and to whom they also must defer.
Does the staircase dance have sexual overtones? For whom?
The black/white, male/female, old/young dancing can be construed as a black male’s way of tricking a reluctant white female into bed. Spectators could savor their deepest fantasies and their worst fears in one and the same image.
Vergie (Shirley) in blackface
She is ordered while in blackface to take of the Sargent’s boots. Instead of doing so, she commits what would otherwise be an intolerably defiant action for a black: she takes his leg and pushes him onto the floor! Only later, after chasing her (come here, you little black rascal), he inadvertently wipes off the disguise and reveals Shirley’s true race.
Snead claims that Temple’s “need to imitate blacks” refers to larger cultural needs. What are they?
The power and trappings of black culture are initiated while at the same time their black originators are segregated away and kept at a distance.
Snead claims that Temple’s “need to imitate blacks” refers to larger cultural needs. What are they?
The power and trappings of black culture are initiated while at the same time their black originators are segregated away and kept at a distance.
The baptism
She was the only white spectator at a black riverside baptism. She later re-enacts the baptism in a mud puddle with her two black playmates, using her grandfather’s sheets. She blackens herself with the mud and by assuming the black’s religious ritual. She is the bridge between worlds.
Temple’s mock regiment of black children
Shirley is declared to be a Colonel by the head of the Union company because she is “completely unarmed, except for her golden curls, etc…”
Mom Beck (Hattie McDaniels) and Walker (Bill Robinson’s) spelling abilities
Shirley’s charm comes at the direct expense of the blacks who surround her. In order to risguise the hard truths of her parents’ financial desperation, they play the standard adult game of spelling words out rather than saying them. This action lays them open for revelations of black illiteracy. Shirley’s behavioral childishness can be outgrown but the black’s constitutional infantilism cannot.
Black Actors from the 1930s
This was the age of the negro servant. They played what they were demanded, which was an escape from the harsh financial realities of the day.
Mass Visual Productions
Mass culture in America today consists of a new set of artifacts—mass visual productions. It is important to look at these in a new way, and not to “see” them but to “see through” them. Even though the camera may be a true observer, a camera does not give us everything. In fact, it distorts reality, which is why film is an art form and not just a mechanical means of reproduction. The camera doesn’t lie, but it also doesn’t tell the truth. It just tells the story.