Limitation of Life

African-American Studies / April 23, 2015 / No Comments /
A comparison of two versions of the film “Limitation of Life” by Stahl and Sirk.

This paper examines two versions of the film “Limitation of Life”, by John Stahl and Douglas Sirk. The paper presents the way in which each director creates a different form of resistant black spectator and discusses the issues of gender and race and aspects of resistance.
“In both of their versions of Limitation of Life, John Stahl and Douglas Sirk create a world in which we as the audience are asked to examine the nature of agency and passivity as we ask ourselves what it is like to be looked at. Each film poses questions about the nature of the viewer’s gaze, about what it is like to be looked at and what it feels like to be continuously aware of the judgment of others. The characters in these two movies react differently to such judgments about their beauty and their overall worth, in each case resisting at least to some degree the judgment and therefore power of others. What makes the work of these two directors especially compelling in that in each case they engage themselves and the audience with the issues of gender and race and how both are involved with aspects of resistance. This paper examines the way in which each director creates a different form of resistant black spectator, especially in the person of Sarah Jane.”


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