6th October 2016 8.50pm at Embankment Garden Cinema
Barry Jenkins’s new film Moonlight – part of London Film Festival’s Official Competition – captures the complexities of race, family, love, sexuality and masculinity through a hauntingly beautiful portrayal of its introverted protagonist, Chiron.
Examined in three parts, we see Chiron’s development from a young boy dealing with family trauma to a teenager anxious to know himself, until he reaches a lonely, melancholic adulthood. Whilst the film dips yet further into heartbreak and pain, Jenkins’s excellent visual shots of Miami and Georgia pull the audience away from the dull thud of bewildered abandonment, presenting the intense hope and desire throbbing simultaneously alongside it.
Miami Beach is empty and the sound of the waves and Chiron’s own heartbeat is the only thing that reminds him of the necessity of life. The emotional tumult caused by his emerging sexuality and his exploration of love throw up glaring issues of masculinity and race throughout the film, which are challenged expertly by Jenkins’s destruction of these stereotypes. In this unique picture that spans an entire spectrum of thoughts and feelings whilst remaining specifically character-driven, the intensity of emotion is conveyed with close-up shots of the cast, propelling character development through unspoken expressions rather than attempting to explain what feels unexplainable. Jenkins’s stunning visuals of Miami and Atlanta interlock perfectly with his study of body language, from the intimacy of a cheek quivering momentarily in sadness to eyes slowly lowering in shame.
Whilst Moonlight has shown itself to be a linchpin of LGBTQ cinema, it also spans a multiplicity of complex identity politics: a young black boy seems to float through life caught up in family drama during the heavily racialised “war on drugs” era in the US. This ultimately makes Moonlight a supremely relevant and political story.
Moonlight does not have a UK release date yet.
For further information about the 60th London Film Festival visit here.
Read more reviews from the festival here.
Watch the trailer for Moonlight here: