Monday, July 31, 2017

Hollywood & Race: 'God's Step Children'

The following is an excerpt from a 2008 Time article written by Richard Corliss.

The first black to direct a silent feature, and the first to direct a talkie feature, Oscar Micheaux was the D.W. Griffith of race cinema. And also its Edward D. Wood, Jr. An unquestioned pioneer who wrote, produced, directed, financed and distributed his own films, Micheaux made movies for 30 years, yet remained ignorant of the basic craft and the visual grammar of the medium; by any normal standard, his no-budget, no-retake films are defiantly, fascinatingly bad. His declared mission was to “uplift the race,” but did it by showing light-skinned blacks (usually women) as ethically superior to those of a darker shade (usually men, who are derided as slaves to crap games and numbers rackets). God’s Step Children may not be Micheaux’s masterpiece, but in going even farther than his other films in its wildly jumbled plot lines, its twisted racial politics and its ability to storm past coherence toward an anguished emotional epiphany, the movie is certainly his most-erpiece.

Click here for the full article.


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