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Black. White. (2006)

Rose Bloomfield , Bruno Marcotulli  |  NR |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Rose Bloomfield, Bruno Marcotulli, Poetri, Brian Sparks, Nicholas Sparks
  • Producers: Eric Mofford, Jason Cornwell, Keith VanderLaan, Nisa Ahmad, Sarah N. Crouthamel
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: September 12, 2006
  • Run Time: 273 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000G6BL74
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #178,465 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Black. White." on IMDb

Special Features

  • Six episodes on two discs
  • Ice Cube music video
  • Original casting videos
  • Make-up application slide show
  • "Rose's Poetry Slam" featurette
  • DVD-ROM: Study guides

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

What's it like to live in someone else's skin? Find out by watching this fascinating documentary series in which the African-American Sparks family (Brian, Renee and 16-year-old Nick) trades places with the Caucasian Wurgel family (Bruno, Carmen and 17-year-old Rose) thanks to an incredible visual transformation created by Hollywood make-up artists. The two families agree to share a home for the duration of a six-week social experiment that will challenge their beliefs and core values in ways they could have never imagined. Their unscripted experiences are often explosive, always intriguing and ultimately insightful...resulting in a totally unique cultural perspective that's anything but black-and-white!

Black. White. tackles race relations in a perilously cosmetic way: A white family and a black family are made up as the opposite race, then have to live together to discuss and argue about their experiences. But though the show can hardly be called a rigorous analysis, it's striking how complicated even a skin-deep treatment of race becomes. Bruno, father of the white Wurgel family, is deeply entrenched in his belief that racism can be countered by any individual who approaches people with respect and openness; Brian, head of the black Sparks family, grows increasingly committed to opening Bruno's eyes to the racism that, when people think that Brian is white, becomes all the more naked. Carmen, overcompensating in her desire to join the black world, calls Renee an offensive name, thinking that it's a friendly African-American term. The kids--white Rose and black Nick--dive into deeper waters: Rose, whose makeup is perhaps the most convincing, joins an all-black slam poetry class, while Nick (who resists taking part in the exercise at all) takes an etiquette class for wealthy white teens. Many of the efforts to partake of the opposite culture are cliche (Renee, seeking whiteness, joins knitting and scrapbook classes), while others are laughable (Bruno makes a mid-life rap video). But even these demonstrate the interpersonal complexity of race and culture; as Renee tries to speak the same language as the knitters, the gap seems almost insurmountable--until Renee hits it off with the woman who runs the scrapbooking class and genuine communication starts to arise. Black. White. would be particularly appropriate for starting conversations with teenagers, as Rose and Nick are the most engaging "characters"--Rose is articulate about what she's going through, particularly when she decides to reveal her true race to the rest of her poetry class. --Bret Fetzer

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Fascinating October 16, 2006
An intriguing look at issues of race. Take a black family and turn them white. Take a white family and turn them black. Put them in a house to live together for the duration of the experiment, and place them into various situations (some, very racially charged) and watch as both races move slowly toward the center,

The first couple of episodes may cause you to form opinions on several of the participants, but stay with it. You will find that people can and do change their perspectives, even on topics as hot as race. The one who found a place in my heart was Rose, and I suspect you may grow attached to her as well. The other players have personalities that seem to be works in progress, but this seems to be a good thing, which adds to my fascination. I am awarding 5 stars only because it is worthy of 4 and a half but no such option exists.

Give this one a try and you may find that it is something you will want to share with your children. There is however some language that you may find inappropriate for younger viewers. Although most of the harsher language has been bleeped, more sensitive parents may find what is left to be too offensive.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great idea... in theory August 14, 2008
The idea behind the show was fascinating. But it lost something in the actual execution. The adults in both families seem determined to prove their racial counterparts wrong, rather than learn from each other. Don't get me wrong; the white parents would inspire this reaction in anyone, especially the father. But everyone involved (except the children) are only interested in claiming the honor of being right. The fact that they don't maintain their public disguises for the duration of the series doesn't help matters.

As for the DVDs, I was hoping the commentary from the cast members would shed some light on the episodes. I've only seen the ladies' commentary so far, and I didn't hear any discussion on the arguments that took place, in particular the exchange over the use of the word "bitch". The show and the DVD extras proved to be disappointing all around.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Black. White. ~~ A VERY WELL DONE SERIES !!! June 23, 2012
"Black. White." gives us a fascinating, attention-grabbing look at what it can be like "to be" in someone else's skin--in this case, a white family is made-up to appear black and a black family is made-up to look white all using studio quality make-up. Actually, "despite being called `The Wurgels' (Carmen's name by marriage) the three white participants were not exactly a family in the strictest sense of the term. Film actor (referred to here as a teacher) Bruno Marcotulli, his girlfriend Carmen, and Carmen's daughter Rose Bloomfield, a child actor who starred on the Disney television show 'Movie Surfers,' until she quit shortly after being cast in Black.White, are white middle-class suburbanites from Santa Monica, California; and the Sparkses (Brian, Renee, and son Nick) are a black middle-class family from Atlanta, Georgia. True, perhaps one cannot truly understand someone of a different race simply by wearing make-up, but nevertheless this series depicts a meaningful and honest exploration of what it's like to be a person of another race.

In addition, the make-up was very convincing; it allowed people from both families to experience the world and its different cultures and attitudes in ways they otherwise never would have experienced. The two families also had to live under one roof during the six week experience and everyone understood that it was OK for disagreements and even arguments to be openly dealt with on camera. Talk about reality TV that's intelligent and insightful! Another reviewer notes that even though some offensive language was edited out of these episodes, there still may be some word that might offend more sensitive people. However, this remains an excellent, brilliant experiment (and experience) that both families--and this viewer--won't forget anytime soon.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Something to talk about - probably HEATEDLY... August 21, 2011
By Ai-ling
Verified Purchase
A fascinating marvel which is sure to be interesting, and possibly very frustrating, to watch. The make up alone is worth checking out the series and its pretty incredible that a little Hollywood movie magic can transform people off the screen so convincingly.

I am really surprised that there hasn't been more talk in the wake of this first airing on F/X years ago. As a person of mixed heritage myself, I found this to be a gripping social experiment, even aside from some of the stupid "reality show" un-reality that is created around it to make it good tv. I would love to see this viewed and discussed in seminars or classes, particularly those focused on the new buzzword "diversity." The DVD comes with an accompanying study guide, but I haven't examined its utility yet because there is plenty of stuff to get a heated debate going without it. It has been the source of some really good insights and conversations which change depending on the people watching by race, gender and generation.

I think this is potentially a marvelous tool for bridging the gap which still seems present between races (and perhaps even generations) today. I mean, how often does someone really get a chance to be someone else in such a way that will change the way OTHERS perceive you? I say "potentially" because there are a few pitfalls, and the elephant in the room is not so much a race issue, but a class issue as well - it is no accident that the people selected for this were upper-middle class families. It would change the entire dynamic in a slew of different ways to shift the economics of the situation. I will say though, that it is not an easy topic to tackle, and believe it or not, this is by far the most respectable reality-tv I've ever seen.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 3 months ago by Lynn P. Hartshorn
2.0 out of 5 stars I like the concept, but poorly exectured
The concept was a great idea, however I feel that they choose some of the worst people to make the show have drama. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Fish
5.0 out of 5 stars shipped quickly - great show
This is a great show, started watching it in my Sociology class and liked it so much, I purchased it!
Published 18 months ago by Sarah
5.0 out of 5 stars great show
to be honest i had never even heard of this show until i married my black husband. it could be one of the most interesting/insightful shows i have ever seen. Read more
Published on February 6, 2012 by Marissa Davis
4.0 out of 5 stars Black/White DVD -- Using it to teach at an inner city H.S.
I was very pleased to receive this product just as it was promised at a very reasonable price. I am very glad to have found the DVD since I was using Netflix and since I show only... Read more
Published on May 9, 2009 by Joseph B. Cumberland
4.0 out of 5 stars Confronting!
We Dutch people are pretty far in excepting other people's religion, colour, tradtions, etc. etc. So, it really struck me that the black vs. Read more
Published on February 13, 2009 by Jan Van Drooge
5.0 out of 5 stars Imperfect, yet absolutely worth it!
I found this profound study, Black. White., deeply fascinating. Unable to tear myself away, I stayed up until 3:30am. Read more
Published on February 1, 2009 by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Black White
Wonderful, while it's 6 hours long(ish) would love to see more with different group. Always shades of gray, those who you think are going to be cool have the most difficult time. Read more
Published on July 2, 2008 by Dvora Mayer
5.0 out of 5 stars Black.White.Review.
This documentary is the most interesting, most compelling, and least biased discussion of race I have ever seen. Anyone can benefit from watching this series.
Published on April 20, 2008 by Eric S. Paugh
2.0 out of 5 stars Black or white
What I got out of the show is that there was a Black Family and there was a white family, each family had one kid. The show was to show that racisim was still at large in America. Read more
Published on January 7, 2008 by Ken
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