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Book: Embodiment and Black Religion

Chapter: 5. It was Written on her Face: Religion and Black Women's Embodied Emotion in Film

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.27407


In Chapter 5, “It Was Written on Her Face: Religion and Black Women’s Embodied Emotion in Film,” we maintain our specific focus on depictions of black women’s bodies, although from a slightly different angle. That is, while our larger emphasis in Chapter 4 is the religious significance of black women’s resistance to demeaning discursive notions of black women’s bodies, our focus in Chapter 5 is more on the material body. In turning attention to Ava DuVernay’s silent short film, The Door, we trace the ways in which the quest for complex subjectivity plays out through the embodied emotions displayed by the black women characters in the film. More specifically, we argue that DuVernay’s cinematic emphasis on their subtle facial expressions and bodily movements produces visual renderings of black women with emotional depth and dimensionality that eludes strict lines of representational categorization.

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