An email I received from the star of a film, Elmina, that's about "a local Ghanaian farmer fighting corruption and the exploitation of the community by a Chinese multinational corporation":

The film aims to bring together two groups and cultural economies that might normally have little overlap - the Western art world, and the West African popular film industry. What allows it to cross over between the two worlds is my unexplained and totally inappropriate presence in the lead role of a domestically produced African feature - a white Jewish man from New York playing a role that would normally be played by a black West African actor. No reference is ever made to this oddity of casting, which in a quietly radical way completely overturns conventions of race and representation in film, and offers a new perspective on globalization, neo-colonialism, Eastern influence in Africa, and the relativity of audience engagement.
Nothing could stop me from watching the trailer...

The white man to the black man: ""We've been cheated by the white people for too long!" What to make of this? One, we can see it as Doug Fishbone sees it: "A quietly radical way [that] completely overturns conventions of race and representation in film..." If one looks at it in this way, the film will much resemble Yinka Shonibare's "Diary of A Victorian Dandy," a series of photographs that "overturns conventions of race" by placing a black African in various upper-class and very white 19th century settings. No explanation is given for why the white dandy is a black African. Diary of A Victorian Dandy, however, is clearly comic, and Elmina seems to be dead serious.

This is another way of seeing film...


I do not see a terrorist; but I do see an Indian. The indian is Freida Pinto; she plays a Palestinian Arab in Julian Schnabel's film Miral. Why an Indian? Because the film received some of its financing from Indian investors, and they wanted a face that could sell in their market (Slumdog Millionaire made Pinto a star). We can see something like this in Elmina: A white American actor, from the investors point of view, might perform better in the American market than a black one. The logic might have been that icy. The logic of the cash register can be so cold.