Criticism | Passing: Rebecca Hall makes her directorial debut in racial drama with Ruth Negga and Tessa Thompson



Watched movie during the 2021 Sundance Film Festival

The need to belong can often become a trigger for existential crises. And in an America that has defined its preferences, qualities and attributes on the basis of racial control done with brown paper, this sentiment is even more reinforced throughout an entire community. Skip is a racial drama that exposes those fears present in the United States, in the pre-law era of Jim Crow (those that separated white and black). Bringing two black women of a lighter color to the center of the narrative, the production addresses the pains of the search for racial, social and cultural identity, due to the racist complexes that reigned over an entire nation.

Rebecca Hall starts her career as a filmmaker on the right foot. Known for her performances in films such as O Presente and Vicky Cristina Barcelona, ​​she shows a new side of talent, signing the screenplay and directing the production. Seeking to place the audience in the same perspective as a period film, it integrates the narrative based on the 1920s, under a black and white photograph that guarantees subtlety and delicacy, as it skillfully communicates with the current context of the film. ‘plot.

With beautiful photography and still-in-training author direction, Passing reunites Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga as the main protagonists: two women who have divided their teenage years and meet unexpectedly. While the first leads a culturally-guided life of the Harlem neighborhood of Africa, the other passes the brown paper test and cheats on her husband – a white man lived by Alexander Skarsgård – posing as a woman. Caucasian who takes “a little bit of time, again.

Far from his racial identity and surrounded by a racist universe, Kendry (Negga) finds in old friendship his chance to perhaps regain the identity he had lost because of the lie. But confronting each other in a double life, she will live on the edge of the abyss, in an instant of being discovered – generating an atmosphere of different suspense, peppered with a drama where obsession and insecurity guide the attitudes of the people. protagonists. Passer is captivating because it goes beyond socio-racial issues, making its plot a character study, which aims to analyze how human behavior changes in the face of the most adverse circumstances.

Here, although the Kendry story is based on Nella Larsen’s Renaissance novel, released in 1929, the book reports absolutely realistic complexities that truly defined a significant portion of the black community in the 1920s for their thoughts on the identity we seek to have. In an age where many crisp designer plastics live surrounded by strategically designed filters and images for Instagram, the truth has become almost relative and not all that glitters is gold.

The feature communicates with us through its categorical visual language, which stands out in Ruth Negga’s captivating and charismatic performance. At his side, Tessa Thompson loses a good part of her brilliance, in a basic performance, as she is used to delivering in her films. At times a bit monotonous and at times slow, the dramatic thriller develops more of its main protagonist, who gives in to his way of always stealing the stage. Even more so if its plot is developing well, leaving for powerful clashes, its outcome lacks vigor. It’s impactful, but it missed the opportunity to be definitely shocking, to become memorable.

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