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Beloved

Director: Jonathan Demme


I feel haunted – in the best sense of the word – by this film, says director Jonathan Demme. Co-produced by Demme and Oprah Winfrey (who also stars in what has been a pet project since she acquired the rights to the hugely popular Toni Morrison novel), Beloved is indeed a haunting and dark tale of slavery and the profound impact it had on its victums. Drawing on numerous strands and on themes associated with slavery, Demme had fashioned a highly original piece, which tackle head-on social and political issues while keeping a central focus on the paranormal.
The story tells of Sethe (Winfrey), a runaway slave who lives a tortured existence with her daughter in post-Civil War Ohio. She is haunted by the painful legacy of her former life and also by a strange force which resides in her house. Sethe’s life takes an unusual turn with the re-appearance of a former lover, Paul D (Danny Glover), and then ‘Beloved’, an almost feral being from the past who irrvocably changes everyone’s life.
Demme’s beautifully crafted if rather sprawling film can be read in several ways: as moral fable; a rites-of-passage story; a detailed accountof a black woman’s struggle in mid-1800s America; a phantasmagorical epic;or as a powerful and affecting saga about the African-American experience. All such interpretations are valid, and when combined they give some measure of the film’s ambitions.

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