Finding Myself in Nella Larsen

Finding Myself in Nella Larsen

Paris Theater
4 West 58th Street
New York, New York

Rebecca Hall

Rebecca Hall’s directorial and screenwriting debut Passing is playing at the Paris theater through November 4. The film has been nominated for five Gotham awards, including Breakthrough Director and Best Screenplay for Rebecca Hall.

The elucidation of a family’s history, like the history of a nation, is never straightforward or simple. History after all is a site of struggle and even a mode of obfuscation-memories are revised, edited, doled out in fragments. The truth is stated baldly and then denied, hedged, or partially retracted. The same stories somehow become less and less clear with each repetition. Clarity is elusive, and perhaps its pursuit is even unkind-why probe something so delicate as the past? And when it comes to questions of race, what answers could ever be satisfying?

From the moment that this script I’d written in a kind of fever dream started to become something that might turn into an actual film, the first question was always: Why me? Why this story? I have been circling around the answer to that question for nearly 15 years. The shock of recognition that I felt upon reading Nella Larsen’s novella was deeply confusing to me, enough so that I sat down and wrote my adaptation almost immediately after finishing it, as a way of trying to find out why its hooks were in me so deeply. That encounter with Passing not only produced this film, it also set me off on a journey through my family’s collective memory, its history, and the long story of black people in America

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , ,