Moonlight

Moonlight ★★★★½

something that I noticed this time around: Moonlight begins even before the A24 logo appears on screen. the first sound cue we hear is actually two sounds overlapping: the sound of distant ocean waves, and the sound of Boris Gardiner singing "Every N***er is a Star". the waves fade out as the song fades in, and then the first image reveals the song playing out of Juan's car stereo as he pulls up to check on his operation. immediately Jenkins has established a subjective play with time - these two sounds/places/times only coexist in the film's liminal space, closely linked but not bound to Chiron's consciousness. indeed Chiron only passes through the film's first shot, a complex track following Juan out of the car and across the street, circling an interaction between one of Juan's employees and his customer. As Juan crosses the street he's in sharp focus, the colors of his shirt popping, his skin glistening in the Miami sun. The background is blurred - if the film's subjectivity is tied to memory, this suggests that Juan is more vividly remembered than his surroundings. Yet the camera practically worships him, taking in every nuance of his handsome face and crisp clothing, his strong presence and casual swagger. This is not something Chiron himself sees until Juan pulls the board off the window and finds him hiding in the abandoned house. But it's as if Jenkins has shaped our first impression of Juan the way Chiron remembers him, as a man who loomed large before he entered Chiron's life and continued to do so long after he was gone.

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