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Losing Ground

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Losing Ground was one of the first feature-length dramas since the 1920s to be directed by a Black woman. After being screened at various film festivals, Losing Ground never got a wide-theatrical release during Collins' lifetime, which was tragically cut short by breast cancer at the age of 46 in 1988. In the time since, the film has been rediscovered and cherished widely by critics and Black filmmakers alike. Dreamy, meaty, and deeply intellectual, Losing Ground is remarkable because of its focus on the interior lives, class and gender dynamics, emotions, and dreams of the Black characters it depicts, specifically regarding the woman at the center of the film, Sara Rogers (played perfectly by Seret Scott). Despite the film's extremely small budget, the cinematography by Ronald K. Gray gives the visual palette a lushness that feels decadent; the deep greens of the trees upstate, Sara's colorful wardrobe, the wind-whipped roof on top of a building makes the film reflect the deep sensuality explored by its characters. Losing Ground is, as Charles Mudede says, "one of the most important and original American films of the second half of the 20th century." JASMYNE KEIMIG

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