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Charles BurnettA Cinema of Symbolic Knowledge$
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James Naremore

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780520285521

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520285521.001.0001

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The Wedding (1998)

The Wedding (1998)

(p.143) Eight The Wedding (1998)
Charles Burnett

James Naremore

University of California Press

Based on Dorothy West’s novel of the same title, The Wedding is an expensively mounted, three-hour television film produced by Oprah Winfrey and directed by Burnett, with a large cast and a broad historical sweep. It centers on a wealthy enclave of blacks on Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts, where the youngest daughter of a prominent family is about to be married to a white jazz musician from New York. Neither of the two families approves of the match, and the plans for the elaborate wedding lead to a variety of dramatic conflicts. The film flashes back to the Reconstruction era, revealing the family trees of black “strivers” who have sacrificed love to become successful and are biased against anyone not of their class.

Keywords:   adaptation, racial intermarriage, social class, colorism, phenotype, TV movies, melodrama, black history, strivers

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