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Entries in Barry Jenkins (25)

Friday
Aug032018

Yes No Maybe So: If Beale Street Could Talk

by Nathaniel R

James Baldwin's "If Beale Street Could Talk" was published in the summer of 1974, forty-four years ago. It feels like we've waited about that many years for any hint of what Barry Jenkins film adaptation might look like since he announced his intention to film it, a year or so ago. The trailer has finally arrived, temporarily satiating our curiousity. Temporarily. It's the type of trailer that relies extensively on moodiness rather than what-the-film-is-actually-like reveal. Let's break it down after the jump with our Yes, No, Maybe So system...

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Thursday
Jun142018

Blueprints: "Moonlight"

To celebrate Pride Month, every week of June Jorge has been highlighting the script of a movie that focuses on a different letter of the LGBT acronym. For “G”, he looks at the poetry in Moonlight. 

When La La Land took the Best Picture statue at the 2016 Oscars for about five minutes, it wasn’t an Earth shattering surprise. It was the kind of movie that wins Oscars. The twist, from a mixed up envelope, was the fact that a small independent film about queer people of color had actually managed to go above all the other nominees for the big trophy was what had made the Earth shatter.

Moonlight is not a traditional Best Picture winner, in everything from themes to distribution model to narrative structure to protagonist. It won three Oscars in total, including Best Adapted Screenplay. It is also not a traditional screenplay. Let’s see how the script transmitted emotion through descriptive lines...

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Sunday
Oct292017

Middleburg Farewell: Nicholas Brittel, Greta Gerwig, and "American Crime Story"

Day 1 (Darkest Hour), Day 2 (James Ivory, Mudbound, A Fantastic Woman) in case you missed them, Day 3 (Last Flag Flying)

Ann Hornaday and Greta Gerwig talk after a screening of Lady Bird. photo src

The last moments of Middleburg were a blissful blur that it's taken me a week to recover from. Before I left the splendor of the country at this under-the-radar festival in Virginia, I managed to attend three more events.

Lady Bird
I caught some of Lady Bird again (one viewing is definitely not enough). Just enough to give me that rush of pre-college feels again before meeting one-on-one with Greta Gerwig. We'll share that interview next week as Lady Bird begins its theatrical release. Gerwig is such a singular actress that we don't want her to give that up (please never leave our screens!) but it's a joy to know that she writes and directs just as beautifully. 

The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story
Since Middleburg largely takes place at a single resort, there are several panels and discussions in their coziest event space. The last on the menu was a discussion about the forthcoming miniseries The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story which is the second season of that anthology series which began with the Emmy-winning The People Vs Oj Simpson...

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Tuesday
Jul112017

Barry Jenkins to Adapt James Baldwin

Chris here. Barry Jenkins is staying quite busy post-Moonlight: he directed the best episode of Netflix's already spectacular first season of Dear White People, has started developing a limited series adaptation of Colson Whitehead's The Underground Railroad for Amazon, and now has another film in the pipeline. Jenkins will begin filming an adaptation of James Baldwin's If Beale Street Could Talk this fall with Annapurna producing. The novel takes place in 70s Harlem as young Tish works to prove the innocence of her falsely accused fiance Fonny.

This obviously makes for an thrilling pairing, but no one is more excited than Jenkins, stating:

James Baldwin is a man of and ahead of his time; his interrogations of the American consciousness have remained relevant to this day... To translate the power of Tish and Fonny’s love to the screen in Baldwin’s image is a dream I’ve long held dear. Working alongside the Baldwin Estate, I’m excited to finally make that dream come true.

This news is exciting on many fronts, not least of which is that it will be the first major screen adaptation of Baldwin's fictional work. With Jenkins working with Baldwin's estate, their stamp of approval is further affirmation that Beale Street is in good hands. The writer/director wrote the screenplay at the same time he worked on his Oscar-winning screenplay for Moonlight, so the overlap has to guarantee as much emotionally intuitive care for his characters, right?

And if you haven't yet seen last year's Oscar-nominated documentary on Baldwin and his work, I Am Not Your Negro, it is streaming now on Amazon Prime!

Tuesday
May232017

Hit Me With Your Best Shot: "Moonlight"

by Nathaniel R

Little and Juan framed by nature

A truth: No matter how much you love a movie on first viewing, what makes it become a classic, a masterpiece even, is less predictable. That's in how it endures and oft times whether it can keep giving you new information. Aging, even for non-living things like a movie which is already "complete," before it begins that process, is tricky. But after a handful of screenings of Moonlight over the past nine months, it's quite obvious that the film (not to mention its surprise Best Picture win) will age spectacularly well. A prediction: We're just barely getting to know its marvel.

The Hit Me With Your Best Shot series initially started as an idea to honor Cinematography but film is so collaborative and complex that that's not how it turned out. It's ended up being more of a mise-en-scène appreciation ... sometimes the images that grab you are lighting based, other times it's the perfect marriage of a sound and picture, and then there are performances so indelible that they even become the primary iconic visual. Because Moonlight is rich in all of its moving parts, I opted to just look at the first act (for now). And I did something I never do: I watched it with the sound turned off... 

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Friday
Apr212017

Beauty Break: The Time 100

Chris here to start your weekend with some star gazing. Time Magazine's annual list of the 100 most influential people is here! While there's the usual assortment of world leaders, innovators, and executives (not to mentions some unsavories), it's the magic makers of the entertainment sort that catch our hearts here at The Film Experience. That ebullient Viola Davis cover to your left is nothing if not a factory for happiness.

The assembled talent and wavemakers run the gamut from Ava DuVernay to Sarah Paulson to Riz Ahmed to Constance Wu, the kind of future Hollywood we actually want to see. But the real fun of the lineup is the profiles written by other famous types about the honorees - Naomi Campbell paying tribute to RuPaul? Your icon wishes! Take a look at the photo set and tell us your favorites in the comments!

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