Why Moonlight won the Oscar

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What if this was the ultimate Obama-era movie?

Arte devotes its evening to the representation of black Americans in the cinema: at 9 p.m., place at Moonlightthe drama by Barry Jenkins which received the Oscar for best film in 2017, then the channel will offer an unpublished documentary entitled Birth of a black hero in the cinema: Sweet Sweetback, already visible on Arte.TV. To wait, we are sharing our article on the victory of Moonlight at the Oscars, originally published the day after the ceremony, on February 27, 2017.

The complete list of the Oscars 2017

The competition between La La Land and Moonlight for the Oscar for best film will therefore have been played out until the last minute. And even after the last minute, the scramble of the wrong envelope having caused the two teams to follow one another on stage a few seconds apart. And if, beyond the big failwe rather took it for a beautiful symbol of generational handover? Damien Chazelle (32 years old, 3 films on the clock) and Barry Jenkins (37 years old, 2 feature films to his credit), both winners of a ceremony where almost no veteran was named (neither Scorsese nor Eastwood), embodying a new generation of directors successfull and conquerors. Either a new New Hollywood, crowned under the eyes of the former “New Hollywood” (Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty, alias Bonnie and Clyde), who now wonders about his myopia when reading the names of the winners.

The historic error of the Oscars 2017: The end of the story

#OscarsSoBlack?

Youth: this is the real symbol that we want to attach to the victory of Moonlight. Of course, after a 2016 edition marked by the OscarsSoWhite controversy (in summary: only white films nominated and rewarded, the year of Creed and of NWA – Straight Outta Compton), editorial writers of all stripes will hail the success of this film (the story in three stages and three actors in the sentimental education of a kid from the Miami ghetto) as the victory of one black emblem over the other. favorite of the season, La La Landfragile babtou romance where white thirty-somethings play jazz while fantasizing about the good old days of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers (we caricature, huh, we love La La Land to First). Corn Moonlight goes beyond the strict framework of the black experience, of the questioning of the representation of minorities (in this regard, it’s as much a gay film as a black film) and is considered above all as a pure experience of sensory cinema , soaring, ethereal, eyeing Gus Van Sant, Wong Kar-Wai and Hou Hsiao-Hsien, and placing aesthetics a hundred cubits above politics.

Moonlight, the first LGBT, black, broke film… to win the Oscar

post racial

Of course, politically, symbolically, there was something painful to see Moonlight win in extremis, in a snatch, forced to push the team to La La Land off stage to find a place. A dazzling summary of the place of black artists in American cinema? Yes and no. The OscarsSoWhite controversy should not make us forget that the cinema of the Obama years knew how to make the black American experience one of its major subjects (lincoln, Django Unchained, The Butler, The colour of feelings…) and that the Academy had not been totally insensitive to it (remember the victory of 12 Years a Slave in 2014). And if we consider that cinema always echoes the issues of its time with a slight time lag, then Moonlight, an eminently post-racial film, could in fact be the real great film of the Obama era. The one who imagines the world ofafter. La La Landand its golden age flavor, is a crisis film, an anti-Trump refuge, exactly the kind of wonderful musical that audiences would go to in the 1930s to forget the storm brewing outside. Moonlight, he forgets nothing of the past but intends above all to trace a path for the future. That this symbolic film of the Obama years was rewarded under Donald Trump is in itself an excellent reason to remain hopeful.

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