Imitation of Life

  • Wed Feb 1
Imitation of Life
Douglas Sirk
Juanita Moore, Lana Turner, Sandra Dee, Susan Kohner

In his final film, Sirk remakes Imitation of Life (originally made in 1934, adapted from a 1933 novel by Fannie Hurst), a popular melodrama that explores mother-child relations, “passing,” and class conflict. It all begins at Coney Island when Lora (Turner) and her teenage daughter Susie (Dee) meet the unemployed Annie Johnson (Moore) and her own daughter Sarah Jane (Kohner). Annie, who is black, presents her nearly white daughter as black, and, from this moment, “Nothing is natural. Ever. Not in the whole film.” (Rainer Werner Fassbinder) A film full of mirrors, tawdry dancehalls, domestic breakdown, guilt and hyperreal mise-en-scene, Imitation of Life stages a bejeweled world in which escape from one’s social station is a rich fantasy indeed.

DCP color
2 hours 5 minutes
release year/country
1959 USA