India Arie sings of the love of brown skin, Dove commercials are plentiful in promoting “Loving the skin you’re in,” and the African-American community still struggles with the love of color. In The Feast of All Saints (Anne Rice), this love of color and heritage is magnified through the stories of the main characters. Black, White, Passe Blanc, this movie details the internal and external struggles of the Creole culture.
Marcel Ste. Marie (Robert Richard) plays a young Creole gentlemen whose father is a white plantation owner and whose mother is a gens de couleur (free people of color). Marcel grows up in a society that does not have the privileges of its white counterpart, but has more than its slave counterpart. The gens de couleur consider themselves neither white nor black. The women were often placed in left-handed marriages to white men (placage) and set up with homes and the means to keep up their lifestyle.
What is prevalent in this movie is not only the love of heritage, but also the love of status. Even though the gens de couleur could not vote and would be treated the same as the slaves if they left New Orleans, they were treated almost as kings and queens in their society. It is intriguing to watch the growth of Marcel as he battles within himself about loving the society that gave him power and privilege while wanting to change it.
While this movie is filled with struggle, it is also filled with love and the rules of engagement that the gens de couleur society attaches to that love. Depending on how you look at it, The Feasts of All Saints can be classified as a love or hate story. Love doesn’t always come the way we dream it should and often it can come with a price. The Feast of All Saints gives us a glimpse into the history of the color phenomenon that still haunts the African-American community today.
Crystal-Marie Mitchell is is a freelance writer and designer, based in San Francisco. She writes for BizMe magazine and owns her own graphic design firm, IsrylDesigns. She blogs at divadiariesbythediva.blogspot.com, where she offers beauty and fashion tips, along with life lessons and words of encouragement to girls and young women, trying to find their way in the world.