Queen Latifah Character Analysis

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At the center of mise-en-scènes is the actor whose performance is an interpretation of the character and is instrumental to the film’s success. In the biopic Bessie (2015), Queen Latifah had the challenging task of portraying the edgy and tough side of the 1920s Blues icon when she was a hit, as well as the vulnerable side when she failed. Through the use of her voice, facial expressions, and body movement, the star was able to convey Bessie’s empowerment, as well as satisfy the criteria for delivering a good performance, one that was representational of Bessie Smith. In this biopic, it was important for the director to conform to what the audience expected, which was for the actor to emulate Bessie Smith. Consequently, Queen Latifah was type…show more content…
For this film, Queen Latifah uses physicality as a main way to communicate information about the themes of the film. Queen Latifah is able to capture her character’s empowerment through the two primary elements in an actor’s performance, gestures and voice. Bessie is a powerful, confident, and fearless character. She is neither afraid to stand up to authority nor the white male establishment in a time where woman, especially black woman did not. In the scene where the KKK showed up to her South Carolina show (0:57:04-1:00:55), Latifah perfectly portrays Bessie’s willingness to confront conflict and her star quality on stage, elements of empowerment, which are representative of her character throughout the film. The combination of her distinctive tone, gestures, facial expressions, and her expressive body language matched that of Bessie’s forceful personality. In this scene, she is marching outside of the tent to yell at the Klu Klux Klan. She uses a loud assertive voice to make sure they know she is sincere in her threats. An actors comfort with their bodies as well as how they stand and walk gives insight to the character’s personality and attitude. Before she gets of the stage she vigorously throws down her boa and starts swinging her arms, which lets the audience know she is unhappy and prepares them for her rage. She stomps out of the tent and takes a very powerful stance with one foot behind the other and grips the ax she snatched from one of the Klan members. The mouth, eyebrows, and eyes are where all the emotions lie in the face. When Bessie realizes the Klan is ruining her show, she frowns her eyebrows, squints her eyes, and purses her lips, which is an indication of frustration and disapproval. Lastly, just as eyes are where the emotion lies in the face, body language is expressed through the hands. In this
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