“The whole point of making it was for people who might’ve grown up under similar circumstances”.
On Sunday night, Moonlight surprised us all by taking home the Golden Globe for Best Film.
The film, which has been continuously praised since its world premiere at the Telluride Film Festival, for its performances, direction and seductive cinematography, follows the journey of self-discovery of Chiron while growing up poor, black and gay in 1980s Miami.
Time Out New York even hailed the film as “without a doubt, the reason we go to the movies: to understand, to come closer, to ache-hopefully with another”.
But this is nothing new to Barry Jenkins who, back in 2008, marked his directorial debut with the acclaimed Medicine for Melancholy. The film, about two African-American wondering around San Francisco after spending a night together, raised the issues of interracial dating, racial identity and housing rights.
Jenkins inspired a new generation of young black filmmakers. One of which is film publicist, Justin Simien, whose Netflix TV series, Dear White People, is currently in production.
“The black cinema revolution had begun, and I’d be damned if I’d miss the train”.
If Moonlight is based on Tarell Alvin McCraney’s play, In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue, Jenkins found an opportunity to make something truly personal and to reach people of similar upbringing.
“I’m a guy from the projects who got together with a playwright from the projects to make a movie about a gay black kid from the projects”.
Jenkins, who grew up one block away from the apartment in which the movie was filmed, says Moonlight is about the feeling of being black in the South. Just like his lead character, Jenkins had a lonely childhood growing up with a drug-addicted mother.
Jenkins is already working on his next project in collaboration with Brad Pitt’s production company, Plan B. It will be a limited series based on Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad and tells the story of Cora, a young slave who tries to escape her fate in a world where slaves are transported through a hidden transportation system.
Moonlight, which also stars Trevante Rhodes, André Holland (Selma), Janelle Monáe (Hidden Figures), Naomie Harris and Mahershala Ali, will hit UK Cinemas on the Saturday, February 11.