Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga deliver their most powerful performances to date in this exquisitely nuanced drama centered on one form of Black resistance to the Jim Crow one-drop rule (“passing as white”), and the complexities of privilege and sacrifice that follow. Director Rebecca Hall’s elegant adaptation of Nella Larsen’s 1929 novella focuses on two former highschool classmates, Irene (Thompson) and Clare (Negga), whose chance encounter at a stylish New York City tea salon leads to a rekindling of their friendship, and the realization of how similar and divergent their lives have become. Both are married, well-off, with children, but while Irene is comfortable as a high-class Harlem society wife (often admonishing her darker skinned household help), Clare, passing as white, is married to an unabashed racist and confined to an isolated life of deception and lies. With fine supporting performances from André Holland and Alexander Skarsgård, Hall navigates the terrain of Black identity and skin tone discrimination (colorism) with a masterful hand and compassionate vision. –KD Davis
Special Screening program: MVFF is proud to honor Passing producer Nina Yang Bongiovi (also of Fruitvale Station, Sorry to Bother You) with a 2021 Mind the Gap Award, Independent Producer of the Year. Following the screening, we will be joined in person by director Rebecca Hall and actor Ruth Negga in conversation with Faridah Gbadamosi.
Reception sponsored by
Thursday, Oct 14, 6:30pm, Smith Rafael Film Center (Special screening)