Wednesday, May 2, 2012


Hit me with your best shot is back-to-back this week, as today we look at the Sundance hit – "Pariah". This coming of age tale is an excellent vehicle for the talents of director Dee Rees and a shining breakthrough performance of Adepero Oduye in the lead role. In this study of sexual expression in urban society, the film highlights the concepts of appearances and perceptions.

Click below for my favourite shot...

My favourite shot looks into these superficial issues of outward appearances and perceptions. In an effort to distract Alike from the bad influences of her best friend Laura, Alike’s mother forces her to walk to school with the seemingly wholesome Bina. In her mother’s eyes, this friendly obedient girl is the perfect model of a young woman. In her eyes, she wears makeup and pretty clothes, so is more womanly than the more "butch" Laura. In this scene, Alike makes sure to distance herself from Bina. Their attire is a striking contrast, seemingly a public declaration of sexual identity. They have both decided that since they look different, they share nothing in common. I like the use of such contrasting colors for the clothing in this particular scene. It seems purposely tailored to question the viewer’s own stereotypes of how straight girls and gay girls should look. Bina must be straight and Alike is a lesbian right? As the girls become intimately acquainted, they realize that they are more similar than they originally thought. Even then, Bina refuses to risk the public identification of herself as another "nasty, sinking dyke", to quote Alike’s mom. There were some other great shots to choose from, but I think this one best captures the essence of the film’s message, addressing the effects of judging people’s worth based on unimportant factors such as clothing and the accompanying sexual identity.

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