Saturday, 8 October 2016

LFF 2016 REVIEW - MOONLIGHT (BARRY JENKINS)


Blue: a colour, a mood, a symbol of serenity in the LGBT+ community. Black: a colour, a name, a culture born out of nature, out of necessity, and into oppression begotten by ignorance transported onward - the bullied become the bullies. Fear from without is transmuted into fear from within. Moonlight is a call to love from within, both an achingly sensitive depiction of an under-reported reality and a subtle yet stringent account of the lingering damage of abuse and prejudice. Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney develop an examination of the process of accepting oneself in a culture that openly seeks to reject such an expression - black is not only the culture of Moonlight, it is the predominant colour, since no white character is ever even glimpsed. In chronicling three seminal experiences in the life of a young gay black man, Chiron, Jenkins' film delineates the process and the significance of what it means to choose to accept oneself, to reject that rejection and to personally become open to love. Intelligent dialogue and direction, and beautiful performances ensure that this process is depicted with nothing short of perfect, palpitating precision. Jenkins astutely recognizes that the primary characteristic of this process is pain, that instilled in the victim of abuse or neglect, then transformed into the pain of facing and revealing it, and in living a frightening, free life. Moonlight exposes the fallacy in society's aggressive expression of masculinity in gentle parody and in bracing, surprising erotica; the film could easily be interpreted as a treatise on the influence of corporeal desires on cerebral development, and vice versa. Eventually neither black nor blue, this brilliantly constructed film ends in the golden hue of the embrace between the two - body and mind united in love.