The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Black Sea

In Black Sea, Robinson (Jude Law) is fired from his salvage job of 11 years. Disgruntled and upset with his abrupt termination, Robinson assembles a ragtag group of British and Russian sailors when he learns that there may be a sunken Nazi U-boat full of gold at the bottom of the sea. The group sets off in search of this rumored gold, and almost immediately, the group is divided as greed takes over and language and cultural barriers occur. Eventually, the question becomes what is more important, survival or money? And at what cost do each of these come?

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

Black Sea does not pass the Bechdel, Russo or race test. The film fails to pass any of these tests because there is only one woman in Black Sea and because there are no LGBTI or non-White characters in the film.

*The Bechdel test entails three requirements:
1. It has to have at least two (named) women in it
2. Who talk to each other
3. About something besides a man

*The Vito Russo test entails three requirements:
1. The film contains a character that is identifiably lesbian, gay, bisexual, intersex and/or transgender
2. The character must not be solely or predominately defined by her sexual orientation, gender identity and/or as being intersex
3.The character must be tied into the plot in such a way that her removal would have a significant effect

***The race or people of color (POC) test has three requirements:
1. It has two people of color in it
2. Who talk to each other
3. About something other than a White person

****Just because a film passes the Bechdel, Russo and race test does not mean that it is not sexist, heterosexist, racist and/or cissexist, etc. The Bechdel, Russo and race test is only a bare minimum qualifier for the representation of LGBTI individuals, women and people of color in film. The failure to pass these tests also does not identify whether the central character was a woman, a person of color or a LGBTQI individual and it does not dictate the quality of the film.

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