THE OBENSON REPORT

Covering Cinema From All Across The African Diaspora

FILM FINDS - Skin

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The annoyingly mawkish, typical Hollywood trailer music aside, this looks like it could be worthwhile.

Sophie Okonedo can be fun to watch, despite what sometimes feel like stage theatrics in her performances (bring it down a little bit Sophie... bring it down... you're in a film, not in a stage play).

Said to be based on a true story...
a genetic abnormality caused Sandra, born of white parents in apartheid South Africa, to look like a black person. Her parents, rural shopkeepers serving the local black community, lovingly raise her as their 'white' little girl. Tormented and unaccepted by white society, though classified as white, she falls in love with a Black man and moves to a township, alienating her parents. The film follows Sandra’s thirty-year journey from rejection to acceptance, betrayal to reconciliation, as she struggles to define her place in a changing world.
I sense some wonderful opportunities here to deconstruct racial identity, and I hope the film doesn't shy away from tackling the subject matter head-on, relentlessly, as its mainstream counterparts often tend to.

Skin will make its debut at the Pan African Film Festival next month, which I'm hoping to attend, provided the festival awards me with a press pass.

I'd guess that a straight-to-dvd future lies ahead for the film.


11 comments:

  1. SolShine7 said...
     

    I'm intrigued.

  2. must love movies said...
     

    "this genetic abnormality is known as throwback"

    google time

    i smell a cheater. lol

    yea sophie can be annoying like thandie newton. looks like it can be a good film.

  3. Ortega said...
     

    it debuted at the toronto international film festival last year and they said it was good but too lifetimish

  4. Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden said...
     

    01 27 09

    Hello there:
    Thx for stopping by my blog. Interestingly enough, years ago my Dad showed me some of his college papers. He was a photojournalism major at SJSU. Anyway, one story came up about this gal in South Africa who was Black with White parents. I always wondered about how that was possible and how life was like for that girl, or even if the story was a hoax. This was nigh twenty five years ago and the paper in which the article was located must have been a few years older than that!

    How utterly interesting. One blogger buddy of mine is a white fellow from South Africa and he said this is common and yes, they are called throwbacks!

  5. The Sujewa said...
     

    Ummm, sorry to challenge South African Apartheid era "science", but most likely the woman just cheated on her husband.

    But I guess anything is possible. I think I've heard of "black" parents having "white" babies ever so often. Who knows.

    Regardless, might be an interesting movie.

    - Sujewa

  6. The Wendilicious Wonder said...
     

    LOL! Yeah, Sophie can be a bit "extra" I guess it's because she's primarily a stage actress.

    Throwback would imply that the person in question, certainly is the child of parents of a different colour, but that the parents have something in their family lineage that's been kept hidden. It's a phenomenon I'm surprised isn't more prevalent in places like South Africa and the US, where race has been a major issue.

    Hope you get to go the fest so we can get some feedback. Seems a little too heavy on the melodrama, but an interesting premise nonetheless. And that it's based on a true story makes it that little bit more intriguing than the general look and tone of the trailer would imply...

    Let us know how they handled the topic - whose perspective it's primarily told from, how it's done...

  7. jaceeel said...
     

    Sujewa, i wanted to make a does she look like the milkman joke but i thought better. But I think your right. I mean what were the consequences for a white woman having sex (children) with a black man in South Africa during apartied. Then again i googled them and the other kids looked mixed while she showed a stronger African appearance.

  8. The Sujewa said...
     

    yeah, who knows what exactly happened. Most likely the girl's father was another dude. Maybe that society came up with the "throwback" theory to explain away such incidents. I think there was a similar approach in the South (& maybe US wide) during slavery & segregation eras (that's if they didn't kill the baby or give it away to a black family - probably).

    Anyway, 1 - am glad that kind of drama is over (at least in most of US & probably much of South Africa too), and, 2 - might still be a very interesting movie.

    - Sujewa

  9. The Sujewa said...
     

    ooh, another possibility - one of the parents were "passing" for "white".

  10. The Wendilicious Wonder said...
     

    Sujewa: Your "passing" for white possibility is what would most likely cause throwback. i.e. at least one parent had something in their family lineage that was kept hidden - maybe even to them. That's what throwback is - when the physical identity of a new member of a family proves that family has some genetic/racial "otherness" in its past.

    Having someone else's child and passing it off as your spouse's isn't throwback, it's deceit - but the throwback theory might be used to cover up the most recent shame (rather than the historical, family one of so-called miscegenation).

    The truth will always out in the end!

  11. The Obenson Report said...
     

    No - nobody cheated. Nobody is passing.

    The synopsis provided by the filmmakers needs to be rethought.

    Calling throwback a "genetic abnormality" is ignorant. It gives the reader the wrong impression by implying something unpleasant.

    What's going on here is simply a reversion to an earlier ancestral trait. Somewhere in the girl's parents' lineage, there is more than likely some black African blood of which they may be unaware - or have chosen to conceal for obvious reasons.

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