Moonlight set in same Miami neighborhood as Alvin Ailey's Robert Battle childhood home
Welcome to Reel Motion, a series of blog posts that examine the Northrop Film Series selections. Find out more about the screening of Moonlight on Wed, Mar 6 at 6:30 pm ahead of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s performance at Northrop on Tue, Mar 12.
Based on Tarell Alvin McCraney's semi-autobiographical play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue, the movie Moonlight was, at the time of its theatrical release, filmmaker Berry Jenkin's first feature film in eight years and only his second film ever. It went on to win Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actor, Best Adapted Screen Play, and Best Picture at the 89th annual Academy Awards. This subtle, unassuming gem of a film was an unlikely contender in the Best Picture category in 2017. The film's underdog status may have contributed to the blunder of the category’s presenters succumbing to an error of confirmation bias by announcing the odds-on favorite, La La Land as the winner.
Despite having to live though one of the most awkward, and unnecessarily embarrassing moments in award show history, the work that the producers, writers, director, cast, and crew put into this profoundly moving meditation on the unknowable forces that can shape a life will out-live the cringe-inducing post-Oscar press coverage. Rather than describing the plot, or tell you what to think about this deeply personal and at times difficult to watch film, take a moment to listen to this interview with Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney and Fresh Air host Terry Gross shortly after the film's original release and listen to their personal story of what making this film meant to them.
This film was selected for the dance film series because of its beauty and cultural significance. It inspired this dance tribute created by Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's artistic director Robert Battle, who grew up in the same Miami neighborhood as Tarell Alvin McCraney, Barry Jenkins, and the film's protagonist, Chiron.
Shayna Houp is Northrop's Artist Services Manager and curates the Film Series each season.