God’s own country

The last film I saw in 2017 was Luca Guadagnino’s Call me by your name and my first film of 2018 is God’s own country, two gay films about young men falling in love. Call me by your name has been sold as a possible Oscar contender and a follow-up to last year’s Moonlight. But I think that God’s own country is the much better film. It takes place in present-day Yorkshire, England where twenty-something Johnny Saxby (Josh O’Connor) lives on a sheep farm with his father, Martin (Ian Hart) and his grandmother, Deirdre (Gemma Jones). His father suffered a stroke and Johnny has to work long hours alone to keep things going. He spends his evening drinking at the local pub with occasional gay sex in public washroom. Having been drinking all night, the next day becomes even more of a burden. Some of the work is not being done and Martin and Deirdre chastise him. But what can they do? They have all inherited an unpleasant situation. Johnny is terribly unhappy and lonely. Then the decision is taken to hire some help for the lambing season. Enter handsome Romanian hired hand Gheorghe Ionescu (Alex Secareanu). Initially, Johnny resents Gheorghe’s presence at the farm. They have to spend several days camping nearer to where the animals have moved. Whatever happens during these few day will change their lives. They have sex, but unlike Luca Guadagnino with Call me by your name, director
Francis Lee and his actors seems unafraid to show sex between men or male nudity. It’s raw (don’t worry nothing explicit or pornographic) and it feels real. And Lee has wisely defined the relationship between the two men with an earlier detail. In his previous encounters, Johnny won’t kiss his male partners, but he kisses Gheorghe. But it’s more than that. Gheorghe has a love and appreciation of the beauty of the country, and for Johnny the love of a man and of the country is the only thing that can save his life. After some misstep, Johnny decides that he needs Gheorghe if he wants to be happy. God’s own country has a lot of similarities with Ang Lee’s Brokeback mountain. The two lovers in God’s own country are also masculine men of few words, the movie is raw and rough. O’Connor’s expressive star making performance is riveting. The painful expression of the depressed and unhappy Johnny is heart wrenching. Alex Secareanu’s Gheorghe is an intriguing composition, making him, in Johnny’s eyes, impossible to read. He is forceful and tender all at once. They are well supported by Ian Hart and Gemma Jones, who play characters more concerned with the daily chore and small gestures than the long conversations. Joshua James Richards’s cinematography is most important here. Like a painter, he carefully uses touches of grays and blues for the Yorkshire skies, and browns, oranges and ochre for its trees and leaves. Josh O’connor has said “I loved that this was an unforgiving, bleak view of someone’s life, but which had hope. You don’t see that in any cinema, let alone LGBT.”

Rémi-Serge Gratton

Plays t Ottawa’s ByTowne Cinema from January 12 – 17
http://www.bytowne.ca/movie/gods-own-country

God’s own country

Directed by:
Francis Lee

Screenplay by:
Francis Lee

Starring:
Josh O’Connor
Alec Secareanu
Gemma Jones
Ian Hart
Harry Lister Smith

104 min.

Rated 18A

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120 battements par minute (Beats per minute)

Robin Campillo’s 120 battements par minute opens with a shocking scene. During an intervention by ACT UP Paris at a pharmaceutical conference, the key speaker is splashed by a balloon filled with fake blood and handcuffed. At the next meeting held in a college lecture classroom, those events are discussed and some are pointing fingers at Sean (Nahuel Pérez Biscayart, the film’s most accomplished performance), the young man who threw the balloon with fake blood. But Sean is unapologetic, his health is declining and there is no time for diplomacy. At the meetings there are many HIV-positive (called “poz” by the members) gay men, concerned lesbians, straight women and a mother and her poz son. They all have different positions about how to force government and big pharma CEO’s to listen to them. For a while 120 battements par minute feels like a procedural. In addition to the lively meetings, we also witness some interventions/protests. In one of them, ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to unleash power) take over the offices of a pharmaceutical company, they confront the employees and spray fake blood on the wall. In another one they go to a school with pamphlets and condoms and demand to speak to the students and even stage a kiss-in. This is the early 1990’s and there was no cure for AIDS yet. So we forget how in-your-face ACT UP was. But some people were dying and there was no time to waste being nice. And then the film gradually veers to the more intimate and personal love story between Sean and Nathan (Arnaud Valois, a young handsome actor who, with Biscayart, is the film’s pulsating heart), a new member of ACT UP. In a long bedroom scene, that is the film’s centrepiece, they make love, they talk about their first love as we flashback to those moments, and they also talk about sex and love. Theirs is a tragic story, and there have been plenty in our collective memories since the beginning of the AIDS epidemic. There are some stunning moments of pure magic beauty. During a scene at a disco club, Campillo and Jeanne Lapoirie, his director of photography, let the camera focus on the dust dancing on the dance floor. The dust become cells dancing under the microscope. Or in that extended love-making scene where the camera concentrate on the beautiful naked bodies of two young lovers. If 120 battements par minute can be at times didactic, it is never pretentious. It is a passionate, gut wrenching film about love and death.

Rémi-Serge Gratton

Plays at Ottawa’s ByTowne Cinema on February 20 & 21
http://www.bytowne.ca/movie/120-battements-par-minute

120 battements par minute (Beats per minute)

Directed by:
Robin Campillo

Screenplay by:
Robin Campillo
Philippe Mangeot

Starring:
Nahuel Pérez Biscayart
Arnaud Valois
Adèle Haenel
Antoine Reinartz

140 min.

In French with English subtitles.

Call me by your name

And what I’m trying to say isn’t really new
It’s just the things that happen to me
When I’m reminded of you

Is it okay if I call you mine? from the film Fame (1980), music and lyrics by Paul McCrane

Plaisir d’amour ne dure qu’un moment,
Chagrin d’amour dure toute la vie.

Plaisir d’amour (1784), music by Jean-Paul-Égide Martini, lyrics by Jean-Pierre Claris de Florian

Awards season is near and one of the films that has been on everyone’s lips is Luca Guadagnino’s Call me by your name. Some people are hoping that Call me by your name is this year’s Moonlight (the film that was eventually named Best picture at the last Oscar cast following a screw up with the envelopes). Moonlight was the first LGBTQ themed film to ever win Best picture, and there’s talk of a repeat in 2017. But will it win? In Call me by your name, Elio Perlman (Timothée Chalamet), a 17-year-old Italian-American, lives in the Italian countryside with his parents. We are in the summer of 1983 and Elio’s father (Michael Stuhlbarg), a professor of archaeology, has hired an American student to help him. Oliver (Armie Hammer), a handsome a 24-year-old man with golden hair, comes to stay with them at their beautiful villa in Lombardy. Oliver will sleep in Elio’s room. Although Elio spends some time with his girlfriend Marzia (Esther Garrel) and Oliver is seeing a local girl, it soon becomes clear that the young men are attracted to each other. It’s done in small details. When Oliver suddenly touches Elio’s shoulder during a ball game, the teenager’s reaction is to quickly withdraw. But when they are alone, it is Elio’s turn to touch, kiss and grab, and Oliver to hold back. They are both conscious and wary of their feelings. Oliver is ambiguous. He enjoys the game of seduction and the attention, but is also aware of the danger. But what should happen, happens. Call me by your name is actually not as explicit as screenwriter James Ivory originally conceived it. A lot of nudity (read full frontal) was removed at the request of the actors. And then there is a scene of Elio in bed with a peach (yeah, a peach!). There was Marlon Brando and butter in Last tango in Paris, now there is Timothée Chalamet and a peach in Call me by your name. Guadagnino is such an original filmmaker. In Call me by your name he is more concerned with the small gestures, the furtive glances and the tearful face than the long dialogue scenes that will spell everything out for the moviegoers. The way the part is written, it would be almost impossible to play Elio. There are too many things for a young actor to do, too many emotions at once. But Chalamet hits every nails with brilliance make it seems easy, no sweat, and at the end the audience feels emotionally drained. Armie Hammer is Chalamet’s perfect partner, accompanying him, and us in this intense love story. Hammer, like Chalamet, gives a most multi-layered performance. And as Elio’s dad Michael Stuhlbarg delivers a heartfelt speech to help his son cope with his sorrow. The beauty of the Italian landscapes is casually photographed by Sayombhu Mukdeeprom as we go along for a bike ride or for a swim in a river. He knows that however beautiful it is, there is nothing more beautiful than two young lovers.

Rémi-Serge Gratton

Plays at Ottawa’s ByTowne Cinema from January 23 – 25
http://www.bytowne.ca/movie/call-me-by-your-name

Call me by your name

Directed by:
Luca Guadagnino

Screenplay by:
James Ivory
Based on the novel by André Aciman

Starring:
Timothée Chalamet
Armie Hammer
MIchael Stuhlbarg
Amira Casar

132 min.

Rated 14A

In English, French and Italian with English subtitles.

Lady Bird

In her semi-autobiographical solo directorial debut, Greta Gerwig tells the story of a complicated teenage girl who, like the teenage Gerwig, lives in Sacramento, California in 2002. Her name is Christine (Saoirse Ronan), but wants to be called “Lady Bird”. Lady Bird hates everything. She hates the Catholic school her parents chose because they could not afford anything else. She’s constantly fighting with her mother Marion (Laurie Metcalf). At school Lady Bird hangs around with her best friend Julie (Beanie Feldstein) and starts a relationship with Danny O’Neill (Lucas Hedges). It is short-lived when she discovers his secret. Then Lady Bird meets musician Kyle Scheible (Timothée Chalamet) and has sex with him. She would like to go an art school in New York, but her dad (Tracy Letts) lost his job and Marion insists that a local Catholic college will be just fine. Lady Bird is mostly about the mother and daughter’s relationship, and this gives us Laurie Metcalf in the best work she has ever done. It feels like Oscar material. The Metcalf and Saoirse Ronan scenes are so real that you think they were improvised. It is clear that, although they fight all the time, Lady Bird and Marion love each other very much and that the possibility that one will get hurt is greater because of that. If I laughed so much during Lady Bird, is that I got myself caught by surprise by the appalling behavior of that teenager. It’s Gerwig’s originality as an actress, screenwriter and director that is apparent here. Of course I’ve seen other films about teenagers. But one so real, funny and touching? I don’t think so.

Rémi-Serge Gratton

 

Lady Bird

 

Directed by:
Greta Gerwig

Screenplay by:
Greta Gerwig

Starring:
Saoirse Ronan
Laurie Metcalf
Tracy Letts
Lucas Hedges
Beanie Feldstein
Timothée Chalamet

93 min.

Novitiate

A film about a convent of cloistered nuns has always been a perfect topic for a film. It’s even better if you have a Reverend Mother who will antagonize the young postulants. Novitiate begins in the 1960s with 17-year-old Cathleen’s realisation that she wants to become a nun. Over the years we see that Cathleen (Margaret Qualley) is totally fascinated when she meets a nun. Nora (Julianne Nicholson), her agnostic mother, is not very happy when Cathleen tells her. The Sisters of the blessed rose is managed by Reverend Mother Marie St. Clair (Melissa Leo). At first she speaks in a low whisper voice, instructing the new postulants on what their lives will be like from now on. There is “regular silence”, they are told, during which time some talking will be permitted, and there is “grand silence” where no talking is allowed. Complete silence. There is little doubts that Cathleen (now Sister Cathleen) had a real “calling” (thanks to Qualley’s emotionally invested performance), but the reasons for the other girls may be less pure. The idealized notions we see in movies, like Audrey Hepburn in Fred Zinnemann’s 1959 film The nun’s story, or the insistence from their families that there ought to be at least one child as a priest or a nun are some of the reason. But whatever the reasons, the temptation to succumb to the sexual urges is present throughout the film. It is during that time that the reforms brought on by Pope John XXIII and the Second Vatican Council (AKA Vatican II) were introduced. Reverend Mother Marie St. Clair is against any changes and refuses to accept the orders she has received from her Bishop. So the nuns continue to whip themselves with a weird knotted-rope instrument, and there is something called “the chapter of faults”, where the young postulants kneel on the floor for long hours and have to confess their sins and weaknesses. Writer-director Maggie Betts has put together an excellent cast of actresses, young and old. Beside Qualley’s central performance, we have noted a few names. Dianna Agron (from TVs Glee) plays Sister Mary Grace, a progressive nun who disagree with the Reverend Mother and feels the need to leave the order. Julianne Nicholson plays Sister Cathleen’s mom with a brassy camp that is great fun to anticipate. Her confrontation with the Reverend Mother is one of the best scene in the film. And Leo in a performance that is subtle and overplayed, sometime in the same scene, speech or phrase. In the early scenes, we know that under that soft voice there is a scary woman. It is Leo showing us the different layers of contradiction of the Reverend Mother that makes it so compelling to watch. As with all films with nuns, Novitiate is aesthetically most beautiful to watch, thanks to cinematographer Kat Westergaard. Beside the score by Christopher Stark, there is a soundtrack of classical music for female choirs. Novitiate shakes up our pre-conceived notions about nuns and the powers inside the church. Any church.

Rémi-Serge Gratton

 

Novitiate

 

Directed by:
Maggie Betts

Screenplay by:
Margaret Betts

Starring:
Margaret Qualley
Melissa Leo
Dianna Agron
Morgan Saylor
Julianne Nicholson

123 min.

The Florida project

The characters featured in The Florida project are usually reserved for trash TV shows like The Jerry Springer show or Desperate housewives of… pick a place, any place really and you’ll find trash. But here, director Sean Baker does not want to judge. You may know Baker for his previous film, Tangerine, shot entirely on iPhones. In The Florida project we follow Moonee (newcomer Brooklynn Prince), a 6-year-old girl. Moonee lives with her welfare mom, Halley (Bria Vinaite, also a newcomer) in one of the cheap motels near Disney world. During the day, Moonee is left wandering on her own without parental guidance. She’s not really alone. Wandering with her are her friends, Scooty (Christopher Rivera) and her newly found best friend, Jancey (Valeria Cotto). There is nothing Moonee won’t do: spit on cars, ask strangers for money, demand free food be given to them, insult, yell and swear at adults. No limits. And when we get to know her mom, we get it. Halley is a walking time bomb. A in-your-face, loud-mouth young woman who is ready to steal to pay the rent, and even brings clients to her room while Moonee is in the washroom. The motel complex is managed by Bobby Hicks (Willem Dafoe, one of the few professional actors). Bobby does the best he can to help the tenants and make sure they don’t cause any more problems. He’s got his hands full with Halley and Moonee. The very thin plot with mostly improvised dialogue and a cast of non-professional actors does not mean that The Florida project is unworthy. On the contrary : the originality of its subject and Baker’s casual approach is its greatest assets. I will not soon forget Moonee and Halley or the actresses. Looking at Brooklynn Prince, one can’t help but remember Quvenzhané Wallis in Beasts of the Southern wild, with the difference that Wallis was a much more structured and powerful performance. Prince and Vinaite play characters rarely seen in films. Some people feel that a film needs a moral point. There is no point in The Florida project, except to experience unconventional, non-mainstream cinema. Oscar nominations? Yes. I would really like to see Bria Vinaite and Brooklynn Prince among the nominees. But I think that Willem Dafoe is the glue that holds the film together. Dafoe’s Bobby is such warm and caring character, and he plays him with such a gentle touch, an ease. It flows. The Florida project is what it is. Totally original and undefined by our expectations.

Rémi-Serge Gratton

The Florida project

 

Directed by:
Sean Baker

Screenplay by:
Sean Baker
Chris Bergoch

Starring:
Brooklynn Prince
Willem Dafoe
Bria Vinaite
Valeria Cotto
Christopher Rivera
Mela Murder
Sandy Kane

112 min.

Rated 14A

Pop Aye

The first image is quite striking and quirky. We see middle-aged Thana (Taneth Warakulnukroh) on a Thai road trying to hitch a ride for him and his elephant. Thana was depressed when he found Pop Aye the elephant (Bong, the elephant/actor, if such a thing exists). A prominent architect in Bangkok, Thana has been demoted by the firm’s young new owner. And his wife, Bo (Penpak Sirikul), has replaced Thana in the bedroom with a sex toy. Then Thana sees Pop Aye, the elephant he was playing with when he was a child back on his family farm. Thana sees that Pop Aye is mistreated by his owner and decides to buy the elephant. Thana’s plan is to bring back Pop Aye to the rural village where they grew up. The farm is now owned by Thana’s uncle Peak (Narong Pongpab). On the road with Pop Aye, Thana whistles the I’m Popeye the sailor man song from the old animated series. Along the way Thana gets arrested by two cops who say he’s not allowed to have an elephant as a pet. They somehow all finish the night at a karaoke bar where Thana befriends Jenni (the intriguing and mysterious Yukontorn Sukkijja), a transgender prostitute. Thana even sings a song with Jenni. This is an unusual absurdist comedy-drama with lots of charm. The only problem might be some of the flashbacks. They make the film more confusing than it needs to be. Singaporean filmmaker Kirsten Tan’s début feature is full of nostalgia and characters who feel the passage of time weigh on them. Excellent actor Taneth Warakulnukroh is better known in Thailand as popular rock star. And Bong the elephant does everything that is expected from an elephant.

Rémi-Serge Gratton

 

Pop Aye

 

Directed by:
Kirsten Tan

Screenplay by:
Kirsten Tan

Starring:
Taneth Warakulnukroh
Penpak SIrkul
Bong
Yukontorn Sukkijja

104 min.

In Thai with English subtitles.

Their finest

It probably was not easy to make films in London during the Second World War. London was bombed by the German Air Force. At any moment, your neighbourhood, your house and your life could be destroyed. Looking death in the face was a daily occurrence. But all through this, the people at the British Ministry of Information’s film division tried to make propaganda films. Adapted from a Lissa Evans novel, Their finest is a light film that mustn’t be taken too seriously. The central figure is Catrin Cole (Gemma Arterton) a young woman applying to the Ministry for a job as a typist. But because she previously worked as a copywriter, she’s given the job of writing ‘slop’, dialogue between women in propaganda short films. Catrin is married to Ellis (Jack Huston), a struggling painter hoping that soon he’ll strike it rich. In the meantime, it’s up to Catrin to put food on the table. But she finds that writing ‘slop’ is boring and is snobbishly regarded by her writing partner Tom Buckley (Sam Claflin), a handsome but sexist young man. But Catrin is not going to let Buckley belittle her. At the Ministry’s request she travels to the coast to investigate a story about twin sisters who helped soldiers during the evacuation of Dunkirk. But the sisters’ heroism has been overblown by the newspaper. Still, she finds the idea of having two female heroic leads interesting. She makes a pitch to her supervisor, Roger Swain (Richard E. Grant), and it is decided to make it into a feature-length film. To play the twins’ Uncle Frank they hire veteran actor Ambrose Hilliard (Bill Nighy). Ambrose was once a matinée idol. But that was when he played a dashing detective in a popular series of films. Now, Ambrose resents playing a supporting character, and, worse of all, an old Uncle! But he needs the money. There are a few British character actor that almost never give a bad performance no matter in what film they play. One of those actors is Bill Nighy. In Their finest he effortlessly makes it impossible not to fall in love with Ambrose Hilliard. The writing gets sidetracked a bit when the Secretary of War (a pompous cameo by Jeremy Irons) insist that the film needs an American star (Jake Lacy) to make it more profitable abroad. At home, Catrin is falling out of love with her husband, while she and Buckley are getting closer. Even if the topic and the historical setting is original and might have been interesting, I am not convinced that the treatment is satisfactory. Their finest relies too much on old American film clichés. It’s been done so many times. And so much better. But still, what moved me at the end is the screening of their film. How good filmmaking with a good script can make any audience laugh and cry. I think that the film Catrin and Buckley made in Their finest is better than Their finest itself. Too bad!

Rémi-Serge Gratton

Their finest

Directed by:
Lone Scherfig

Screenplay by:
Gaby Chiappe
Based on the novel Their finest hour and a half by Lissa Evans

Starring:
Gemma Arterton
Sam Claflin
Bill Nighy
Jack Huston
Paul Ritter
Richard E. Grant
Rachael Stirling

117 min.

Rated 14A

Weirdos

“I’m just sick of watching Canadian movies with Canadian actors in Canadian backdrops and then they exchange money and it’s American cash.”

Ottawa born actor, director, screenwriter and producer, Jay Baruchel, Mansbridge One on one, March 2017

Lately, there’s been a lot of discussion on TV about Canadian cinema. Most of the people say that English Canadian films are boring and uninteresting. But to characterize all Canadian films that way, is a disservice to the artists who work so hard to make these films. Bruce McDonald has been making films in Canada for almost thirty years. His latest film, Weirdos, is a sweet coming of age tale. It begins when 15-year-old Kit (Dylan Authors) and his girlfriend Alice (Julia Sarah Stone) decide to run away from home in Antigonish, Nova Scotia , and hitchhike to Sydney, Nova Scotia. This takes place in 1976 during the American Bicentennial weekend. Kit and Alice are pretending to be spending the night at each other’s house. But it’s not long before Dave, Kit’s dad, finds out and is understandably worried. The teens are going to Sydney for an all night beach party. And, for some reasons, Kit wants to go live with his mom. They get lucky when they are picked up by a bunch of friends, who decide to drive with them to Sydney for the party. In the car, Alice witnesses Kit getting closer to Leo (Max Humphreys), the boy sitting beside him. Later at the beach, Alice’s suspicion is confirmed: Kit is gay. After the initial shock, Alice affirms her support for her best friend. Together they go to meet Kit’s mom. Laura, (played with delicately laced hysteria by Molly Parker) it is now clear to us, is suffering from some form of mental instability, and is not the right person to raise a child. Like in most of his previous films, Bruce McDonald has a great selection of Canadian songs everywhere throughout Weirdos. With the film’s innocent outlook and the luminous black-and-white photography (Becky Parsons was the cinematographer), all you need is a songs like Last song by Edward Bear, Carry me by The Stampeders or even Snowbird by Anne Murray to feel you are watching The Andy Griffith show. It does not take much. Kit walks down a country road and one of those songs is playing, and I hear Opie Taylor’s familiar whistling. What I liked about Weirdos is the innocence. The innocence of those black-and-white TV shows, of my teenage years during the 70s. The innocence that is part of Kit’s life and that I hope he’ll never lose. Thanks to Daniel McIvor for his sensitive screenplay and to McDonald for Weirdos and for his contribution to Canadian cinema. Go see Weirdos.

To see… I caught a great interview with Canadian filmmaker Jay Baruchel on (Peter) Mansbridge One on one. Baruchel is as articulate about Canadian culture and cinema as he is on our heritage and hockey. Here is another quote from that interview: “If we were in any other country in the world, it wouldn’t even be a discussion. If someone wanted to make a movie in England that took place in England, no one would ask them why.” Here is a link to that interview:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/mansbridge-one-on-one-jay-baruchel-1.4021480

Rémi-Serge Gratton

Weirdos

Directed by:
Bruce McDonald

Screenplay by:
Daniel McIvor

Starring:
Dylan Authors
Julia Sarah Stone
Molly Parker
Allan Hawco
Cathy Jones
Rhys Bevan-John
Max Humphreys

85 min.

Rated 14A

Moonlight

Moonlight is an extraordinary film experience about the life of an African-American gay man from boyhood to adulthood. In the blaring, blinding Miami sun, a boy called Little (Alex Hibbert) is hiding from the boys who are harassing him. Heaving chest and panicky eyes tells the story of a boy who has been repetitively bullied. Moonlight tell his story in three segments. The first is called “Little”. Little soon meets Juan (Mahershala Ali). Juan is a crack dealer, but a man with a kind and comforting attitude for the boy. When Juan teaches Little how to swim, it feels like a baptism. Juan takes Little (who’s real name is Chiron) to his home to meet his girlfriend Teresa (singer Janelle Monaë). He needs them as positive forces, like the scene where a distraught Little asks the meaning of a gay slur that’s been obviously thrown at him by his bullies. Words matter. Beside the bullying, Little has a mother, Paula (Naomie Harris), who is falling deeper and deeper into drug addiction. Basically, Little is left to fend for himself, but when she’s at home all that Paula manages to do is make Little feels that he is a burden on her. Little’s only friend at school is Kevin (Jaden Piner), another person that Little can be thankful about. The second segment is called “Chiron”. Chiron is now 16 (and now played by Ashton Sanders). The harassment has increased, and so has his mother’s addiction. When Paula wants him out of the house, Teresa is still around to offer him a place to sleep. But Paula steals the money that Teresa gave to Chiron. And Kevin and Chiron are still friends (teenage Kevin is played by Jharrel Jerome). One early morning on the beach, Kevin kisses Chiron and then masturbates him. Back at school, the violence and the harassment escalates when the bullies pressures and threatens Kevin into hitting Chiron. The third segment fast forwards 10 years and is called “Black”. After time spent in jail, adult Chiron (Trevante Rhodes) has now muscled up and is now a drug dealer. He now goes by the name Black (That‘s what Kevin used to call him.) and lives in Atlanta. Kevin (André Holland) calls him up one night. When Black goes to Miami to reunite with his friend, you feel the longing and the hurt in their conversation. A touching and heartbreaking finale. This is one of the best ensemble cast I have ever seen, they are all astounding. The entire cast is black. Moonlight is such a beautiful, hard and yes, often desperate film. It is as harsh as the blinding sun. But Chiron’s life has to be told, especially these days. I am now at a loss for words. The only thing left to say is: Moonlight is perfect. Direction: perfect. Screenplay: perfect. So far the best film this year.

And the Oscar went to, well, maybe… You probably heard by now about the major screw up with the Best picture envelope. My comment is that, despite that mistake, Moonlight is a worthy Best picture winner. It can be proud of its African-American cast. It is the only LGBTQ themed Best picture winner. Furthermore, Supporting actor winner Mahershala Ali is the first Muslim actor to win an Oscar. Barry Jenkins and Tarell McCraney also won for their powerful screenplay. Bravo!

Rémi-Serge Gratton

 

Moonlight

 

Directed by:

Barry Jenkins

 

Screenplay by:

Barry Jenkins

Tarell McCraney

Based on McCraney’s unproduced play

In moonlight black boys look blue

 

Starring:

Alex Hibbert

Ashton Sanders

Trevante Rhodes

Jaden Piner

Jharrel Jerome

André Holland

Naomie Harris

Janelle Monáe

Mahershala Ali

 

110 min.

Rated 14A