Monday, November 30, 2009

Precious: too raw and real or the perfect catharsis?

One thing all books and filmschool agree on is that in order to have a story worth watching, you need to have CONFLICT. Conflicts come up all the time in every day life and everyday life is a fantastic source for inspiration.

Often, life experiences translated into film hail a big hurrah! from moviegoers and critics, for what better a way to incite a real emotion than to portray stories inspired by real emotion? Sometimes, however, that reality can be too much for some people’s taste.

In this Saturday’s New York Times, Felicia R. Lee la brings attention to the controversy that “Precious: Based on the novel Push by Sapphire” is causing, especially amongst African American communities. Long story short, some people, such as Armond White, the chief film critic of The New York Press and the chairman of the New York Film Critics Circle, believe that it is not right to depict black Americans in such “demeaning” ways and to enforce such stereotypes, even if these are representative of the realities of some, (not all), black Americans.

The film’s director, Lee Daniels however admits in an interview with Vanity Fair to drawing the inspiration to make the film from his own brushes with abuse, as he was taunted and teased as a young man for his homosexuality. This might also represent a minority of black Americans, and yet the facts remain true. The potential to unite an audience with emotional stories is proven by Precious’ continued success at the boxoffice, having made $22 million thus far despite its very limited release.

If the film had not so compassionately, even angelically, portrayed Precious, and if it had been made by all white people for cold calculated profit, maybe the accusations that the film was insensitive might ring true. However, from the author to the screenwriter to the director to the cast, this movie was made by people intending, not to condescend on an a race or a economic class, but to express universal emotions and experiences with this one life-like story.

Related Topics: "Precious" Smashes The Indie Mold

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