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C is for "The Color Purple"

"The Color Purple" is a film that I watch at least once a year and I cry every time. I sing along to "Sista", I laugh and Harpo's bumbling character and I quote the line "It's gonna rain on yo head" more then I can admit. Seeing it when I was young I didn't know it was a book, and the importance of the story but I do know it impacted me. This story of a woman in a different kind of slavery, one that is timeless. I remember the Oscars that year with Whoopi, Oprah and Spielberg were nominated. I was rooting for "The Color Purple" that year, mostly because I didn't like most of the other nominations like "Kiss of the Spider Woman", "Out of Africa", and "Prizzi's Honor". They didn't really appeal to me as a 9 year old.

What I love about the design of this film is that I never doubted it wasn't real. Every set in this film is authentic to me. From the creeking floors in Celie's house to the makeshift Juke joint taking on water, the sets are iconic to me. Being set in the early 1900's and the story spanning over 30 years or so, you see the progress of cars and even how the mail is delivered. I also love the transformation of the house. When Celie gets there she cleans up the filth and mess and maintains it through the years. The full circle of how the house starts to decay when she leaves is such a visual message of this story. A big part of this story travels through the years and through all the seasons of the south. How the character of the sets look in rain, the snow and spring time are key to this story of all the years Celie is trapped by her husband.

This film never gets old to me, I discover new things every time I watch it and look forward to watching it yearly.

The color purple will appear in the 1980's Best Production Design bracket going up in two weeks. This film was Designed by J. Michael Riva and Decorated by Linda DeScenna.

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