. . . .AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT: “ROSAS BLANCAS PARA MI HERMANA NEGRA” (1970)

Rosas Blancas para Mi Hermana Negra (“White Roses for My Black Sister”), is a melodrama directed by Abel Salazar, starring Libertad Lamarque (who plays Laura), Eusebia Cosme (who portrays Angustias [“Anguish”]); Robertha (who plays Roberta); Irma Lozana (as Alicia), and Steve Flanagan (as Ricardo).

 

 

File:Libertad lamarque.jpg
Libertad Lamarque (November 24, 1908 – December 12, 2000) who was an Argentine actress and singer who became famous in Latin America while working in Mexican cinema (SOURCE).

 

Eusebia Cosme (1911-1976), was an Afro-Antillean actress born in Santiago, Cuba, known as the “Voice of Ebony” by her many fans.

The story revolves around two mothers: Laura, a white singer and Anguish, her longtime black friend, with both mothers dedicated to the education of their daughters:  Alicia and Roberta. But, trouble ensues when Laura’s daughter, Alicia, falls in love with Ricardo, a young Black medical student.  The singer shows her latent racism against this relationship between the two young people, and her behaviour tears apart the friendship between her and Anguish. The white mother in her anger, disparages black people, Anguish, and in effect, their long relationship. Their relationship is tested, confrontations abound:  “But, he is colored!”, and tempers erupt into a violent boil, in this drama directed by Abel Salazar and inspired by the classic Douglas Sirk melodrama Imitation of Life.

Later in the movie, Alicia becomes ill when suffering from heart failure, and is near death. Roberta, is left near-death from a car accident, and because of her severe injuries, is put on life support systems. Dr. Medina (played by Roberto Canedo), lets both mothers know that the only way to save Alicia would be for Roberta’s heart to be transplanted into Alicia’s chest, since Roberta’s heart was not harmed from the accident. Roberta’s mother Anguish, must make a heart-wrenching and tough decision. Can Laura convince her friend Anguish to authorize the operation and forgive, and forget, their racial differences? After discussing the dilemma that confronts them, Anguish decides to be a bigger woman than Laura and gives the go-ahead to Dr. Medina to start the heart transplant procedure that would give life to Alicia, but, end the life of Roberta who is now in a comatose state.

The surgical procedure is done, and Alicia recovers and responds positively to the transplant.

Later in the film, we see Anguish at the grave of her beloved daughter, when Laura approaches, bearing in her hands, white roses. She begs Anguish’s forgiveness for the cruel mistreatment that she had dealt her very kind and loving friend, and for the major sacrifice that Anguish did in allowing Roberta’s heart to be given to Alicia.

The final scene of the movie shows Roberta singing a song, “Por que el color de la piel importa tanto,” that translates into, “Why does the color of the skin matter so much?”

Rosas Blancas para Mi Herman Negra is a Mexican soap opera that tackles racism, colorism, hate, and the trauma of losing a loved one whose organ donation in death gives life to another human being.

The film is not so well-known outside much of Latin America, but, it deserves to be remembered not just because of the message it gives—-that one must be careful in showing contempt towards another person’s race, as you may one day need help in the most profound way from that same person—-but, the film also showcases actresses who were considered great stars at the height of their fame.

The movie also has a scheduled airdate of June 17, 2010 on the Spanish-language station TELEMUNDO.

The film is in Spanish, and the following YouTube videos display a scrawl of the film’s website origin intermittently across the screen, but, do not let this deter you from viewing this fine film.

Enjoy!

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “. . . .AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT: “ROSAS BLANCAS PARA MI HERMANA NEGRA” (1970)

  1. Ivelisse

    Ricardo is not Angustias son, she was a only child. He fell in love with Alicia. Truly a classic.

  2. Gérard Paillard

    Could anyone help me as to know if it is at all possible to buy this film in a French or English version either in a VHS or DVD format.
    I am living in Australia and I remember of this film since I was in my early thirties.
    Thank you for your kind assistance

    • Sharna

      HI Gerard,
      I live in Australia also and have been trying to find an english/french version. Did you end up finding one?
      Regards
      Sharna

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