Broken Blossoms depicts the villain oppressing the innocent, in this case, his daughter. Her only comfort is the company of a "yellow man" who gives her moments of happiness although they are not romantically involved. …
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Broken Blossoms depicts the villain oppressing the innocent, in this case, his daughter. Her only comfort is the company of a "yellow man" who gives her moments of happiness although they are not romantically involved. The idea of a romantic link between the two characters of Lucy and the yellow man would be too much for the 1919 audience to swallow. The movie was also the last of the films which carried integrationist messages. These relationships were depicted as abnormal, unacceptable and impulsive. An example is Spike Lee's Jungle Fever (1991) sets its premise upon the attraction generated by the sexual mythology of different races. The movie runs the typical storyline wherein the lovers Flipper and Angie were the heroes, and racial prejudice was the villain (Bogle 2002).Interracial relationships have been depicted in film for almost a century. These films may or may not reflect the true temper and sensibilities of the periods when they were filmed. Oftentimes, interracial relationships in films toe the line on what is socially acceptable. Otherwise, society through channels as the press and government would raise objections, protests and even civil action against the filmmakers and their actors.Interracial relationships in film are considered generally as part of the melodrama genre. Oftentimes, it depicts the battle between good and evil. There is the presence of the protagonist who is repressed by a villain. Those who are innocent are freed from repression and those that are guilty are duly given punishment.
Melodrama engages in the discussion of social taboos, among which is interracial relationships. Most of the time, the lovers of different races would conform to the dictates of the period when the film was made. Although interracial relationships become increasingly accepted in societies, it is still not allowed in some U.S. states, notwithstanding the legal approbation to such relationships. It may not also be culturally acceptable to some people or communities. Thus, interracial relationships still encounter varying degrees of objection from various sectors. Thus, a film conforming to the period's norms, would tend to seek conformity from its interracial characters, with the lovers separating. If there is no convenient angle to achieve this conformity to moreses, then the characters may be killed of. In a sense, this also is an application of conformity, with the death of the characters symbolizing punishment for their transgressions (Rhies 2000).
The cultural ideology regarding interracial relationships has changed through time. The acceptability of this kind of relationship today is greater than it was three decades ago. Originally, interracial relationships were depicted negatively, emphasizing false perceptions or stereotypes. This was the case with Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967) . It is through such negative depictions that the adverse attitude of societies towards interracial relationships is perpetuated (Hodes).
III. Film Analysis
Guess Who's dealt mainly with the controversy of interracial marriage. At the time the film was made, interracial marriage was still illegal in some U.S. states. The movie broke certain stereotypes. Jack Prentice's being a doctor living in Switzerland may have been deliberate so that he would be suitable for marriage to Joanna, and that his character's only objectionable feature would be his race. John's character, to go against the stereotype image of the African-American of the time, was also a graduate of a top school, became an innovator in African medicine, did not engage in premarital sex even
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