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Rebecca Hall made her directorial debut with the Netflix movie Who passed, which also marked its first produced screenplay. She adapted Nella Larsen’s novel about a black woman posing as white in 1920s Harlem, and her friendship with another woman.
Irene Redfield (Tessa Thompson) and Clare Kendry (Ruth Negga) were childhood friends. By the time they come together in adulthood, they are living very different lives. Irene is married to a doctor (AndrÃ© Holland) with whom she has children. Clare passes for a white woman and is married to John (Alexander SkarsgÃ¥rd) who not only does not know his wife is black but is a racist himself.
Hall has a black grandfather who passed for white in his day, although he died before Hall was born and she says her family never discussed it. She discovered Larsen’s novel around 2007 or 2008. The book was fictional, but the author also had a complicated mixed-race childhood; Larsen’s father was black, but he and his Dutch mother divorced, leaving Larsen to be raised in a white family when his mother remarried.
filmed room Who passed in black and white, which gives the impression of being in a 1920s and 1930s movie, but also metaphorical for the problems of the movie.
Who passed premiered at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, and Netflix released it in theaters on October 27 and streaming on November 11. The Association of African American Film Critics has appointed Who passed one of the top 10 films of the year, and it won five Gotham Award nominations, including Best Screenplay and Best Director for Hall. Negga and cinematographer Eduard Grau are nominated for the Independent Spirit Awards, and Negga also for a Golden Globe.
Click on the image below to read Hall’s script.
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