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Screen Icon: Barbara Hershey

This week's Screen Icon is Barbara Hershey. It seems only right after seeing her career have a slight resurgence with two recent powerhouse performances in Darren Aronofsky's striking Black Swan and latest appearance in James Wan's Insidious. However, let us not forget her back uncatalogued of some wonderful performances and the other roles roles that made us love Babs. Here are a few of our favourites:

Boxcar Bertha
Barbara takes the title role in Martin Scorsese's second film that follows two train robbers and lovers (the other is none other than David Carradine) caught up in the American South. The film has elements of exploitation cinema, combined with the directorial traits that we now know and associate with Scorsese. It's a joy to see Barbara work with the masterful director ad he really gets a strong and charming performance from her.  


The Entity 
This is possibly the finest film on the subject of poltergeists and can be seen as one of the starting blocks for current horror features like Paranormal Activity. Barbara gives an emotionally wrought performance as a woman, repeatedly beat and tormented by an invisible demon. We see a gradual change in the character from broken-down victim to a survivor who wants her life back. The film is particularly graphic and chilling, even by today's standards and is one of the most underrated horror features of the 1980s. 


Hannah and Her Sisters
Barbara teams up with one of cinema's finest auteurs, Woody Allen. This ranks among one of Allen's best works and strongest casts featuring Mia Farrow, Dianne Wiest, Max von Sydow, Carrie Fisher and Michael Caine, to name a few. It's one of Allen's funniest films with strong performances all round.


A World Apart
This little scene period drama shows life in apartheid South Africa, and a family that wish to bring this racist system down. This is a striking look at 1960s South Africa and shows how oppressive and cruel apartheid was to the black population. This is one of Barbara's strongest performance, albeit the film is quite slow but this cannot hide the powerful message that it presents. 


Black Swan
You can read my full review here. After numerous low-key roles, this really shows Barbara's place is right on the big screen. She truly shines as Portman's characters possessive and controlling mother and even received a BAFTA nomination (which she was robbed of!).


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