Black Gold (2011)

Cast: Mark Strong, Antonio Banderas, Tahar Rahim, Freida Pinto, Riz Ahmed

Director: Jean-Jacques Annaud (Quest for Fire, Seven Years in Tibet)

Summary: Set in the Arab states in the late 1920's, the story centers on a young well educated Arab prince torn between allegiance to his conservative father and liberal father-in-law while serving his duty to protect his country after oil is discovered in the Gulf.

Adapted from book Arab by Hans Ruesch


  1. So on the one hand I really love that they are making a mainstream(?) movie about the Middle East that has nothing to do with terrorism and love that it's set during 1920s, which has rarely to ever been filmed by Hollywood besides Lawrence of Arabia. On the other hand, Mark Strong and Antonio Banderas are cast as Saudi Arabians? I think I'm going to scream. Having a olive skin does not make Banderas remotely Arabic looking; and Mark Strong, a lily-white Englishman? Oh Hollywood, have you learned nothing from all of the blackface/redface/yellowface or whitewashing controversies recently?

  2. i do disagree with the casting of banderas, however, mark strong can pull off an arab. and hes a good actor, thats what they do. sean penn isnt gay, yet he played a gay man, leonardo dicapprio isnt retarded yet he played one

  3. It's not a matter of Mark Strong being a good actor or not, it's a matter of racism. Despite assertions to the contrary, we do not live in a post-racial society, and roles for minorities in Hollywood films are still few and far between. And the roles that are available are often still one-dimensional and stereotypical; and are for supporting characters rather than the leads. The end result is that the minority actors out there are competing without much visibility or acclaim for the very few roles available to them...and although Hollywood would never put a white actor in blackface anymore, they still don't see the problem in slapping bronzer on a white actor and casting them as American Indian, Arab or Asian. So then those few lead roles often end up going to a white actor like Mark Strong or Antonio Banderas or any other actor that tans well (or the roles get rewritten completely for white actors like the 2008 21 film, or Avatar the Last Airbender, or the upcoming Akira remake, and the examples go on and on). Which only makes minorities even more invisible onscreen and pushes them aside even more. It is especially frustrating when it's done in a film like this which had the opportunity to cast all lead Arabic actors and bring exposure to talented minority actors.



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