Imitation of Life (1959)

Directed by Douglas Sirk
U.S / 1959 / Narrative
125 minutes / English / FORMAT: 4K DCP

Lana Turner is a young widow chasing dreams of Broadway stardom while her stoic African American housekeeper (Juanita Moore) rears Turner's daughter (Sandra Dee) alongside her very own "lightskinned" child (Susan Kohner)— whose desire to "pass" as white leads her to move to the big city, abandoning values and eventually her mother. Amidst a flurry of fabulous wardrobe changes, Sirk remarks on America's investment in racial separateness and the sacrifice of the dutiful woman. (AFI)

“Sirk unleashed a melodramatic torrent of rage at the corrupt core of American life—the unholy trinity of racism, commercialism, and puritanism.” (Richard Brody, The New Yorker)

“Don’t miss the chance to see Sirk’s masterful 1959 melodrama on the big screen — the emotions of this enduringly relevant story about racial identity need the biggest canvas they can get.” 

– Time Out New York

“AN AMERICAN MASTERPIECE! The toughest-minded, most irresolvable movie ever made about race in this country… remains the apotheosis of Hollywood melodrama.”
– Charles Taylor, Village Voice

“One of the most intellectually demanding films ever made in Hollywood… By emphasizing brilliant surfaces, bold colors, and the spatial complexities of 50s moderne architecture, Sirk creates a world of illusion, entrapment, and emotional desperation.”
– Dave Kehr