Director and screenplay writer, Barry Jenkins, illustrates the internal and external turmoils faced during the formation of the modern-day male identity in his upcoming coming-of-age film, Moonlight.
Moonlight has received global acclaim throughout its screening tours at major film festivals, but sadly, the film has not seen the publicity even pre-Nate Turner rape scandal received.
Thanks to Hive Honey, Brittany Robbins, our avid readers have been caught up on the Nate Parker, Birth of a Nation controversy. BOAN is a film which re-tells and re-dramatizes the historical 1831 slave rebellion led by Nat Turner. She asserts, “Having seen the movie, I do not feel any blacker nor any less of a woman.”
Movies like Birth of a Nation, Selma, 12 Years a Slave, The Bulter, and Red Tails serve as reminders of the historical struggles of Black Americans–namely Black American males. Every year like clockwork the public is allowed a major motion film remake of a slave narrative or a moment in the Civil Rights movement. Next year, I think we get August Wilson’s Fences.
“At some point you have to decide for yourself who you are going to be. Don’t let nobody make that decision for you,” Tarell’s father’s bellows out during the hauntingly beautiful movie trailer.
“Dramatic film has long been fascinated with issues of identity, but they’ve rarely been explored with the degree of eloquence and heartbreaking beauty as in Barry Jenkins’ masterful “Moonlight,” one of the essential American films of 2016.” – Barry Tallerico, Managing Editor of RogerEbert.com
Filming began almost a year ago, October 14, 2015, in Miami, Florida. Moonlight premiered at Telluride Film Festival on September 2, 2016, and since then the film has been screened at the Toronto International Film Festival, the New York Film Festival, and the BFI London Film Festiva. I am still kicking myself for missing the advanced screening at the Brooklyn Musuem, but I will be present on opening night, Thursday, October 20.
Moonlight unearths the silenced narrative of a boy growing up with identity struggles in the Miami projects. As we follow Tarell in three pivotal moments in his development, we see him grapple his sexuality and the pressures of social expectations. We also see director Barry Jenkins strive to capture the moment where identity forms and solidifies. The second I watched the trailer, I knew this was a film I needed to see and that this was a story that hadn’t been told.
Films like Birth of a Nation remind us where we come from as a people and as a country. But where has our past left us? Where are we going? How do we survive? I hope to gain a cinematic glimpse of the present day in Moonlight. I won’t say every Black American or every American has to see this film, the media has already made an erasure of its existence. I will, however, tell readers to watch the trailer, and if you are moved by the images on the screen you should go and watch this film.