Ben rejecting woman at party-POSSIBLE SPOILERS
I've seen this movie three times now and find it fascinating and perhaps ahead of its time. Though dated, it still seems pretty intense in its depiction of racial tensions and family discord.
There's one uncomfortable scene that puzzles me, in a movie full of uncomfortable scenes. Youngest brother Ben is at a party being given by oldest brother Hugh. It's a mixed gathering of black and white people, mostly musicians and artists. Light skinned Ben, who hangs around with a group of white men, as they pick up women in bars, is seated next to a black woman. She apparently has been drinking a little too much, and seems to be coming on to him, in what she means to be a seductive way, urging him to have a drink, and he keeps trying to ignore her. She keeps sort of teasing him, touching him and talking in a friendly way, and seems oblivious to the fact that he doesn't appreciate her attentions.
She finally says or does something that annoys him to the point where he shoves her or strikes her, I'm not sure which, and what follows happens so quickly, it's unclear but I think she either hits him, or throws her drink in his face. Everyone is running around yelling and carrying on, and Ben and Hugh practically come to blows, as younger sister Lelia tries to intervene. As I recall, Ben goes storming out of the party, with Hugh hollering at him to come back.
I think what really sets off this confrontation is that the woman says something to Ben about his needing to accept being black, and having a relationship with a woman like her. Perhaps she senses that he's trying to pass for white and he resents her trying to educate him about who he is. All the women we see him with in the pickup scenes are white, and it seems like racial identity is a big part of his set of issues.
So much is suggested, but not clearly explained in this movie, and maybe that's part of what make it so memorable.
Any thoughts on this? There's something about this movie that grows on you. I feel the need to keep going back and see it again, even though it's not easy to watch.
And when he crossed the bridge, the phantoms came to meet him