Week 7

I’m really glad that we watched Lackawanna Blues in class on Wednesday. It was definitely a tear-jerker, especially the final scene when Junior leaves the house and sees how destitute their neighborhood has become. This was particularly poignant considering it was on the tail-end of the emotionally highpoint in the film, when Nanny returns home and is shown how much she means to the “pieces she made whole.” I was kind of expecting Nanny to die in the hospital, but instead of this moment being sad, her return its inspirational. The filmmakers almost lure the audience into an emotional high to then let them feel the hopelessness and loss of the community beyond Nanny’s walls. I’m sorry we didn’t get to explore the idea of the “mother of the community” after finishing the film, but hope that we have the opportunity to digest together next class. In some ways Nanny is a “mammy” character, a commanding matriarch, head of the housework, and caregiver. Yet the term “mammy” is much more two dimensional than Nanny’s character, and I think that this speaks to the depth with which the film portrayed women of color. We see a lot of growth in Nanny from the beginning to the end of the film, mediated by her relationships with her boarders, her husband, and Junior. Often, we don’t think of mothers, or maternal caregivers, as full people. Meaning they aren’t usually considered with sexual agency and are expected to fulfill their “motherly duties” first and foremost. We were also privileged to Nanny’s public and private displays: her ability to always be ‘on’ while at the house, contrasted with “How tired she really was,” as Junior puts it, while visiting Laura’s mother; her fearlessness in confronting Laura’s husband and even Bill, and her vulnerability (e.g visibly shaking after she gets Pete calmed down, or her emotional vulnerability when she tells Junior about her daughter). I think it’s interesting that although the film is a story about Nanny, it’s told through the perspective of Junior’s life. How does this lens change our perception of Nanny, if at all?


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s