Barry Jenkins: The Intimate Close-Ups

by Jacob T. Swinney

Barry Jenkins may be the modern master of the close-up shot. Jenkins’s close-ups are reminiscent of those crafted by the late, great Jonathan Demme—shallow focus with the character looking directly into the camera’s lens. Take it from close-up aficionado, Paul Thomas Anderson. Anderson once told Jenkins, “I’m very jealous of your close-ups. There’s a long line of people who have really tried to do Jonathan Demme close-ups and I try all the time, but I have to say, you got it right better than anybody.” In Jenkins’s last two features, MOONLIGHT and IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK, the close-ups seem to transcend the narrative of the films. Time seems to stand still as we gaze into the eyes of the characters. They are intimate and profound, and they are simply pure cinema.

Directed by

Barry Jenkins

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