Welcome to our first Film Frame Friday. I decided to choose not only one of the best films of this decade but a film I personally loved.
Moonlight, directed by Barry Jenkins, reached critical acclaim to the point of winning Best Picture at the Oscars, but what makes this film special is the beautiful cinematic style. A native of Miami, Florida, Jenkins used his home city’s unique lighting and whether to bring serenity to his film.
The use of water and the natural hues of blue give Moonlight a serenity unlike any other.
One thing I noticed upon watching this film twice is how Jenkin was influenced by Wong Kar-wai and Edward Yang. The use of up-close face shots, conservative tampering with the natural environment, and letting two characters have an intimate dialog without little distractions. The way Barry Jenkins films the youth in this film can be compared to YI YI or A Brighter Summer Day. For example, Jenkins and Yang both frame their main character with a sense of loneliness. Even when they share scenes with other characters there is a sense of sadness and even alienation.
Moonlight is not the first nor last film to do this, but the style is so strong it demands attention. Letting the scene play out by itself without trying to change the environment provides stellar shots. Smoking a cigarette, eating food, or even driving in a car is such a mundane thing; yet all these directors make it look like the coolest thing ever.
The dialog between characters is shot in a natural way, focusing even the smallest of details.
The similarities between the directors and films are one of the reasons why I love Moonlight so much, and why I praise the scenes. I highly encourage you to watch these films and see if you can spot not only the likeness but what makes them visually appealing.
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