Passing review – Rebecca Hall’s stylish and subtle study of racial identity

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive, Passing, United States on 2021-11-02 19:48Z by Steven

Passing review – Rebecca Hall’s stylish and subtle study of racial identity

The Guardian

Peter Bradshaw, Guardian Film Critic

Hypnotic … Tessa Thompson and André Holland in Passing. Photograph: Netflix

Hall’s directing debut stars Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga as friends who are both ‘passing’ for what they are not in an adaptation of Nella Larsen’s 1929 novel

Rebecca Hall makes her directing debut with this intimately disturbing movie, adapted by her from the 1929 novel by Nella Larsen. Irene (Tessa Thompson) and Clare (Ruth Negga) are two women of colour, former school friends who run into each other by chance in an upscale Manhattan hotel in prohibition-era America. They are both light-skinned, but Irene is stunned to realise that her vivacious and now peroxide blonde friend Clare is “passing” for white these days, and that her odious, wealthy white husband John (Alexander Skarsgård) has no idea. As for sober and respectable Irene, she lives with her black doctor husband Brian (André Holland) in Harlem with their two sons and a black maid that she treats a little high-handedly.

There is an almost supernatural shiver in Irene and Clare’s meeting: as if the two women are the ghosts of each other’s alternative life choices. Irene is herself passing for middle class, passing for successful: she has an entrée into modish artistic circles through her friendship with the celebrated white novelist Hugh Wentworth (Bill Camp) who is passing for straight. But there is something else. Clare is also passing for happily married. The dangerously transgressive Clare, for whom this chance meeting has triggered a desperate homesickness for her black identity, demands access to Irene’s life and simperingly makes Brian’s acquaintance…

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‘Passing’: Rebecca Hall Reveals Personal Link To Directorial Debut – Contenders London

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive, Passing on 2021-10-10 21:21Z by Steven

‘Passing’: Rebecca Hall Reveals Personal Link To Directorial Debut – Contenders London

Hollywood Deadline

Anna Smith

Diana Lodderhose, Rebecca Hall, Ruth Negga and André Holland

Rebecca Hall revealed a personal link to her directorial debut Passing at Deadline’s Contenders Film: London this morning. Joined on stage by stars Ruth Negga and André Holland, she explained why she adapted Nella Larsen’s 1929 novel. “My mother’s from Detroit and her father was African American and passed for white his whole life. When I read the book, it clicked into place: obviously that’s what my grandfather did — for his family, his children’s life.”

Based on Nella Larsen’s 1929 novel, writer-director Hall’s Passing explores the lives of two mixed-race childhood friends, Irene (Tessa Thompson) and Clare (Ruth Negga), who reunite as adults. They become involved in each other’s lives and explore how they diverged due to Irene identifying as Black while Clare “passes” as white. Holland, Alexander Skarsgård, Bill Camp and Gbenga Akinnagbe also star in the film, which premiered at Sundance. Netflix acquired the pic in February for nearly $15 million…

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