Sugar: The Embodiment of “Contact Zone”

In terms of “contact zones”, the film series “Sugar” has one very distinctive mixture of cultures. On one side, you see people who are doing good, or making their way through life with only the “normal” everyday problems. These are working people who maintain jobs and pay their bills just like any other Average Joe. On the other side, is the culture that dabbles in drugs, violence, and such. Typically, these two cultures avoid each other, or at least it seems that way. They stay within their own circles, and they don’t really seem to fully understand why the other group is so different from themselves. They have misconstrued ideas about the other group.

Sugar herself seems to personify the idea of “contact zones” in this film. As defined by Mary Louise Pratt, contact zones are “social spaces where cultures meet, clash, and grapple with eachother, often in contexts of highly asymmetrical relations”.

In the first film in the series, Sugar has just been released from prison and is struggling to find her way. In this one and the second one, it is obvious that she is being pulled left and right between wanting what her mother has and giving in to her old friends. She has her own internal conflict as to which side would be best for her. Should she stick with something that she knows? Or should she try and be better in order to see her daughter. This internalized conflict shows very obviously the strength of one of the cultures in her life (the drug culture that she is coerced into) and the smaller but still important strength of the other (her daughter is really important to her).

This power struggle is portrayed, not abstractly through the interaction between the two cultures, but very obviously in the way in which this one character interacts with both cultures.

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