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A film collaboration between Tracey Moffatt and Gary Hillberg
1999, 10 minutes, Color, DVD
Order No. W00641
It is Hollywood’s favorite role for black women: the maid. Sassy or sweet, snickeringly attentive or flippantly dismissive, the performers who play them steal every scene they are in, and Tracy Moffatt’s entertaining video collage reveals the narrow margin Hollywood has allowed black actresses to shine in. But shine they do. Giving lip is proven an art form in these scenes from 1930’s cinema to present-day movies featuring a remarkable roster of undervalued actresses and their more celebrated white costars. Moffatt and Hillberg’s rough, no-budget assembly effectively highlights with familiarity and humor the disturbing realization of how black characters and white characters still interact on screen, under Hollywood’s eternally backwards eye.


  • Chicago Filmmakers FF
  • Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, Atlanta

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    "Maims melodrama forever, excising the hidden history of Hollywood's phantasm of white female stars served by black women extras. Mandatory for any cinema studies class."
    Patricia Zimmermann
    Ithaca College

    "Tracy Moffatt's work delivers a bite that is almost imperceptible, until you realize long after seeing it that she has somehow altered your way of thinking."
    Robert Byrd
    Jerome Foundation

    "'Lip' is a clever to brilliant rapid montage of scenes from Hollywood movies... these off-hand moments are biting criticism of racial stereotypes and, simultaneously, demonstrate that these wise-cracking maids were nobody's fool."
    Patricia Mellencamp
    University of Wisconsin

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WMM offers film collections on a variety of specific subject areas, including the collections VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: Ending the Silence, BODY IMAGE, and AFRICAN-AMERICAN: Celebrate the Lives of African-American Women.

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Women Make Movies is a multicultural, multiracial, non-profit media arts organization which facilitiates the production, promotion, distribution, and exhibition of independent films and videotapes by and about women. contact us