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Sat-Sun, May 7-8


  • Dir. Douglas Sirk
  • USA
  • 1959
  • 125 min.
  • NR
  • 4K DCP
  • Assistive Listening
  • Hearing Loop

Part of Weekend Classics: Douglas Sirk.

Sat, May 7 at 11:40am: Introduction from film critic Jason Shawhan | BUY TICKETS

Douglas Sirk’s final Hollywood film turns Fannie Hurst’s best-selling novel into a scorching commentary on race and privilege in 1950s America. Centered on the friendship between aspiring actor Lora Meredith (Lana Turner) and her African American housekeeper Annie Johnson (Juanita Moore), IMITATION OF LIFE traces more than a decade in each woman’s life as Lora pursues her dream of becoming a star, while Annie struggles to maintain a relationship with her rebellious, white-passing daughter Sarah Jane (Susan Kohner). The ever-subversive Sirk wields the plush trappings of the Technicolor soap opera like a knife, going in for the kill with a climax of shattering emotional power. (Synopsis courtesy of Criterion Channel)

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

“The toughest-minded, most irresolvable movie ever made about race in this country.” —Charles Taylor, Village Voice

“...A biting critique of American race relations in the Fifties and a complex study in contrasts and paradoxes.” —Marjorie Baumgarten, Austin Chronicle